When a Flex Alert is issued, you can earn rewards when you conserve energy.

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It’s warm out! For many, that means spending more time outdoors with family and friends. Californians also know that it could mean occasional power outages. There’s a common misconception that power outages are inevitable. In reality, power outages are entirely preventable. When you use less energy during an issued Flex Alert you have the power to help prevent a power outage. Now, a new program called Power Saver Rewards actually rewards you to use less energy.

To help prevent power outages, California created a new program called Power Saver Rewards that rewards you for saving energy. The Power Saver Rewards Program is a new initiative created by the California Public Utilities Commission intended to provide consumers with an incentive for conserving energy during a called Flex Alert in an effort to avoid preventable power outages in California during heat waves or an extraordinary event.

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Here’s how it works: Register at PowerSaverRewards.org and whenever a Flex Alert is issued, cut back on your energy usage. At the end of the month, your utility company will calculate how much you saved and you will get rewards for saving energy. We’re stronger together. Check with your utility provider to see if you’re automatically enrolled. If you are unsure or are not enrolled, join today at PowerSaverRewards.org and get rewarded when you save energy.

Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley is partnering with Power Saver Rewards because we’ve helped our [Re]Builders be mindful of their energy usage for a long time and it’s the right thing to do for each other as well as for the environment. We’ve created this blog post as a list of resources and information for you to understand Power Saver Rewards. Still have questions? Read below for more information.

What is the Power Saver Rewards Program?

California’s Power Saver Rewards program presents an opportunity for utility customers to benefit by receiving a bill credit for reducing their energy use while a Flex Alert has been issued. This new program incentivizes the behavior of utility customers for doing their part to help avoid preventable power outages. Utility customers will be credited after-the-fact at a prefixed compensation rate for every megawatt-hour of electricity consumption they reduce voluntarily during a Power Saver Rewards event.

The reduction in consumption during a Power Saver Rewards event is measured relative to how much energy the customer typically used on other days preceding the event day during hours similar to the event hours. There are no penalties for not reducing energy consumption.

How Does Power Saver Rewards Work?

Power Saver Rewards pays you for reducing energy usage when a Flex Alert is issued. Flex Alerts are typically issued in the summer and warn you to reduce energy usage to avoid a blackout. With Power Saver Rewards, the more energy you save, the more you’ll be eligible to be rewarded. Together, we can avoid preventable power outages when you:

  1. Register for Power Saver Rewards
  2. When you receive a Flex Alert notification, reduce power usage from 4-9pm and unplug unused items
  3. Watch for rewards on your energy bill

Cost rewards earned through energy conservation actions during a Flex Alert event will be credited to a future bill statement. To find more details on how cost rewards are calculated and applied to your bill, and additional program details, visit your local utility provider’s Power Saver Rewards website.

What is a Flex Alert?

A Flex Alert is a call for utility customers to voluntarily conserve electricity when there is an anticipated shortage of energy supply, especially if the grid operator needs to use reserves to maintain grid integrity. Flex Alerts are called most often during extreme heatwaves, when Californians are using more energy than usual to stay cool. When utility customers reduce electricity use during a Flex Alert, it can prevent more dire emergency measures, including power outages.

In 2021, Energy Upgrade California implemented a Flex Alert education campaign that allowed Californians to better understand the Flex Alert program and alert them when a Flex Alert was called. This successful campaign is being continued and expanded and will now include a program called Power Saver Rewards. You can enroll by clicking here: https://participate.flexalert.org/register.

What are ways I can save energy and get rewarded with Power Saver Rewards when a Flex Alert is issued?

Flex Alerts are most often called during heatwaves, when energy use is greater, but can be called at any time when the available power supply is scarce. This usually happens in the late afternoon and evening hours, between 4:00 PM and 9:00 PM*, when renewable resources are less available, but consumers are still using large amounts of energy by switching on air conditioners, lights, and appliances as they finish their day’s work.

Flex Alerts will most likely ask for the reduction of energy use between the hours of 4:00 PM and 9:00 PM but can be issued outside of those hours. Some actions you can take to prepare before a Flex Alert are:

  • Pre-cool your home for the evening by running your air conditioning during the day, when more clean energy is available
  • Do chores that use large amounts of energy, such as those that require major appliances like dishwashers and laundry machines
  • Enjoy the sun in the morning and adjust window coverings (shade, blinds or drapes) in the afternoon to keep your home cool

When a Flex Alert has been called and is in effect, here are some tips to reduce energy usage:

  • Wait to use major appliances until after 9:00 PM or the next day
  • Consider raising your thermostat to 78 degrees and use fans to stay cool
  • Warm at Home? Consider going to a cooling center, library or movie theater, if possible.
  • Switch off unused lights and appliances when possible2019 990 Form

When will I get rewarded?

Each utility provider will distribute credits differently. Some may issue credits at the end of the month or the end of the season. Check with your utility provider for more details.

How much will I be rewarded?

Savings vary by utility provider. Savings are based on a variety of factors including energy costs, reduction in usage, and comparisons to energy usage during the previous days.

Is there a penalty if I don’t reduce my energy during a Flex Alert?

No, there is no penalty if you do not reduce your energy use during a Flex Alert.

How Does Power Saver Rewards help the community?

For some people, including older adults and vulnerable people, power outages can have severe consequences. When we use less power during Flex Alerts and avoid preventable power outages, we’re helping the most vulnerable members of our community. There are also benefits to the environment.

By shifting your energy use to earlier in the day, you can draw more energy from renewable resources like wind and solar energy. Similarly, implementing energy-efficient practices throughout the day can allow you to get rewarded and help California reduce its emissions from fossil fuels.

Where can I learn more about Power Saver Rewards and Flex Alerts?

For more information or to receive notifications on when to act, visit PowerSaverRewards.org.

The more that register, the greater the impact, and the more power outages we can prevent. Help your community and benefit today. Become a Power Saver. Are you in? Register at PowerSaverRewards.org.

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At Rebuilding Together – Silicon Valley, we believe that everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy home, so we help provide critical home repairs to over 600 clients per year, including those who are aging in place. We rely on generous donations—like those on Giving Tuesday—to continue our essential work and the positive impact we have in these communities.

You can help us make a difference in these communities by donating to our cause today or you can learn more information about what your donations help us accomplish by watching Robert’s story!

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