FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Blinds are being shut and the air conditioners are whirring across the Valley as temperatures heat up.
"Based on our data, we've seen power surge about 12 percent since Coronavirus hit. We've seen pockets in the Central Valley where it's even higher. Across California if those persist, we predict customers might be on the hook for $1 billion and additional energy costs," said Curtis Tongue, OhmConnect Co-Founder.
Curtis Tongue is Co-founder of OhmConnect, a free service that pays you to save energy.
"About once or twice a week we will send you a text message to power down delay doing the dishwasher, delay doing appliances for about an hour and you get cash. You get paid when you save," he said.
PG&E says it sees usage go up during the summer, but there are things you can do.
"Things like making sure you're closing your blinds or curtains so you're not letting direct sunlight in your house, programming your thermostat so you're not cooling an empty house. You can do things like using a ceiling fan in a room that you're in, but turning it off when you leave the room," said Denny Boyles, PG&E Fresno spokesperson.
PG&E has promised that people won't get their power shut off if they can't pay during this pandemic.
But they urge people to call them before they get to that point to work out a plan or figure out ways to save energy.
Both companies say technology can help homeowners.
OhmConnect recently launched a program that allows people with smart devices to automatically save energy and money.
"Your smart thermostat, your smart plug, they'll turn off for 15 minutes and then you get word of cash," Tongue said.
One household could even win energy for life by participating.
About 32,000 Fresnans have signed up for OhmConnect.
OhmConnect's Mega Summer contest runs from now until September.
Saving energy and earning money during the summer
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