"Energy Efficiency is at the heart of energy affordability." Tony Earley, Chairman, CEO and President of PG&E Corporation

News

Vallejo Boys & Girls Club saving money, energy through PG&E program

Originally published in TimesHeraldOnline

Vallejo’s Continentals of Omega Boys & Girls Club’s officials expect its electric bill to drop precipitously come next month — all because of a chance meeting and a power company program.

Club executive director Rey Amador said he was seated near a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. official at a political function last month, and that’s what produced the spark, so-to-speak, that set the episode in motion.

“I encountered a gentleman from PG&E, Mark Van Gorder, at the Congressman’s event in St. Helena last month,” Amador said. “Our energy efficiency at the club isn’t the greatest, so I began to inquire about any programs out there that may be able to assist us. After contacting Mark a couple days later, he immediately got in touch with a group from Solano Energy Watch, and they were out at the club that following day.”

Solano Energy Watch is a collaboration between Solano County, the Solano Economic Development Corporation and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, according to the county’s website.

“We provide no-cost energy efficiency information and services to small and medium sized businesses of Solano County who are PG&E customers,” it says.

Not only was the existence of the energy-saving program a surprise, so was its quick delivery, Amador said. “We were sitting at the table with he and his wife, and I just asked him what could be done, and he got back with me, and I was just blown away at how quickly he moved on my request,” he said.

After taking a look around and “crunching some numbers,” the energy watch people returned with a proposal.

“A week later, Chris Steele from Steele Electric upgraded and replaced 77 lights in our building,” he said. “Typically, the customer would have to pay up front, and then be reimbursed by the program. But, Mr. Steele waived our obligation and completed the work as he waits for direct reimbursement. This is awesome!”

The project cost about $3,300 and is expected to save the club more than $4,500 per year — a coup for a man whose main job is to find ways to cut costs without impairing programs, Amador said.

“We haven’t gotten our new bill yet to see what its done, but the projected savings are astronomical,” he said. “The bill has been about $25 per day or about $500 per month, conservatively.”

Amador calls the expected savings “Quite significant.”

“That’s fully half,” he said. “The savings go back into the club to fund programs, supplies, any other fixes and enhancements; polishing up our product as much as possible, with the ultimate goal to attract and serve more kids, of course.”

While the new lights are helping, more work is needed to help the club cut down on its energy consumption and the resulting bill, Amador said.

“The gym is our big energy sucker, and once we get those lights done, and we’re working on that, on converting them to LEDs, we’ll really realize some savings,” he said.

Steele, owner of Steele Electric of Vallejo, is working on a proposal for that job, too, Amador said.

“He thinks it will be much less than the $1,300 per light — and we have eight of them in there — so that would have been more than $10,000,” Amador said. “He’s thinking $3,000 or $4,000 for the whole gym. So, we hope we’ll be able to take care of that sooner than later.”