By David Kligman
Orlando and Terri Gomez’s household was about to get a lot bigger.
Their oldest son, his wife and their two granddaughters were moving into their ranch-style home in Fresno. Orlando and Terri Gomez were excited, but worried their energy bill would dramatically increase—especially in the sweltering San Joaquin Valley heat.
Enter “Energy House Calls,” an Internet reality series produced by PG&E where household energy use gets a makeover. In the six-minute episode, host Carmen De La Paz and a team of energy efficiency experts shows the family how easy it is to take control of their energy costs. (Click here to watch the episode featuring the Gomez family.)
And in true reality TV form, the makeover had to happen in one day.
The Gomez’s are among six California families who offered to have home energy makeovers as part of “Energy House Calls,” a PG&E initiative to showcase the wide variety of the utility’s energy management programs and rebates available to residential customers.
Ads for promoting the series will air on networks like HGTV, TLC and the Discovery Channel during commercial breaks for other home makeover shows in Fresno, Monterey, Chico and in Contra Costa County. The full six-minute episodes can be found at www.energyhousecalls.com.
There also will be links to the episodes on Facebook, YouTube and Hulu. And a roadshow version of the series—“Energy House Calls” Live—will visit state fairs and big events, as well as select Sears, Best Buy and other retail stores through October. Tour staff will speak English, Spanish and Chinese.
The purpose for the series is to show customers in a fun and familiar way how using a combination of PG&E’s many energy management products and programs—SmartRate, SmartAC, home appliance rebates among others—can help customers conserve energy and save money.
“This series empowers actual PG&E customers to take charge of their energy and shows that it’s worth the effort,” said Steve Propper, a PG&E marketing manager.
In one episode, a Brentwood family with a house full of children tries to stay on budget with their energy bill. In another, a woman who moved from New York and now rents in Chico gets a home office makeover thanks to the “Energy House Calls” crew.
For the Gomez family, the home energy makeover yielded big results:
- Their front door needed to be resealed with weather stripping. Sealing and insulating can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.
- A new water pump for their pool could save the couple up to 40 percent on pumping costs.
- A revitalized outdoor space helps the family stay cool in the Fresno heat, lowering the cost of cooling their home and helping them take better advantage of conserving energy using PG&E’s SmartRate.
- A new water heater replaced their existing unit from the 1970s, helps them save on water heating costs. They received rebates from PG&E for the unit.
Finally, it was time for the big reveal. Orlando and Terri Gomez were stunned, especially the changes to the backyard.
“I absolutely love it,” said Terri Gomez. “I just envision all of us sitting out there, bonding and being there together and conserving energy because we won’t be inside with the air cranked.”
Email David Kligman at David.Kligman@pge.com.