Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E, San Francisco, California, U.S.) launched new online tools on its Web site ( designed to help customers use energy more efficiently and save money. The free online tools give customers customized energy-efficiency analyses of their homes and small to medium-sized businesses, enabling them to keep summer electric bills low. Residential and business customers have the option to perform a quick survey or a more detailed survey.

The residential surveys, which consider specific information such as the weather in customers' zip codes, tailors information by asking for the number of rooms, age of home, type of heating, square footage and temperature setting to give a detailed analysis on cost, and explain how that cost compares to similar homes in the area.

Calculators help customers evaluate the energy costs and potential savings of home appliances such as refrigerators, heating and cooling systems, room air conditioning, clothes washers and thermostats.

The business tools offer recommendations on buildings, rental space and equipment to help businesses find solutions to their individual situations. The tools will examine each aspect of a facility's energy use, such as heating, cooling, lighting, the building shell and various other pertinent applications of energy dollars.

Business customers also can find out how to improve energy efficiency for a variety of businesses, from auto shops to bakeries to warehouses. Case studies give specific examples of efficiency projects. Customers also can learn how similar businesses using the same amount of energy have reduced usage and saved money.
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