How to keep your PG&E bill from skyrocketing during the pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A deceptively overcast summer day in the Valley didn't mean a break from the triple digits on Thursday.

Now that summer vacation is coming to an end, Tamara Nelson and her family are gearing up for working from home to extend to the students in the family.

The plan is to have solar panels installed by next week but in the meantime...

"We just replaced the doors for more energy-efficient doors throughout the back and that's helped a lot," she says.

As thousands of Valley students begin distance learning, the extra time at home could mean an extra digit on your energy bill.

Acknowledging this is a summer like no other, PG&E spokesperson Denny Boyles says the company is now focusing on energy-saving tips for customers when they are home.

Simple steps include identifying the hottest and coolest areas of your home.

"Electronics put off a lot of radiant heat so when you're not using them, power them down, whether it's computers, TVs, laptops...," said Boyles.

Ceiling and floor fans can accommodate turning the thermostat up a few degrees.

Check seals around your doors and windows. Added weather stripping can make sure you don't lose that cool air.

Your checklist should also include your air filter.

"I would check it at least monthly. If you see it clogged or dirty before that month, go ahead and change it. The cost of that filter will definitely be offset by the efficiency in your air conditioning," said Boyles.

But most importantly make sure your bill isn't a surprise.

"If you go on your PG&E account online, you can look at your energy usage in 15-minute increments and it will tell you the time of day that you're using the most energy," said Boyles.

Resources on energy-saving tips as well as third-party apps to identify your homes' hot spots are listed on the PG&E website.
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