By Tony Khing
SAN FRANCISCO — Nearly a million spectators lined the streets of downtown San Francisco on Saturday (Feb. 11) for the 2017 Southwest Airlines Lunar New Year Parade. Not only did parade watchers see a contingent of 50 PG&E employees and a white truck pulling a float for San Francisco’s Chinese Hospital, they were also reminded about money-saving energy options available through PG&E.
During the Community Street Fair, which was held on Grant Avenue in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown District both Saturday and Sunday, nearly 5,000 people came to the PG&E booth and learned how to save on their energy bills. Visitors received energy saving tips (such as using LED light bulbs in one’s residence) and programs such as the California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE) and the Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESA).
More than 200 people at the weekend event signed up for CARE, which provides deep discounts on energy bills for eligible customers. And nearly 200 enrolled in ESA, a program designed to help qualified customers with energy-saving improvements to their homes at no charge.
Besides making customers aware of how PG&E can help them save money, the celebration of the Year of the Rooster also gave employees a chance to give back to the communities where they live and serve.
PG&E’s John Moura, a San Francisco-based restoration supervisor, and his crew of 20 replaced more than 200 cherry lights on Grant Avenue before the celebration began on Jan. 21.
“I always feel great when I can give back to the city,” said Moura. “Just seeing people’s faces when we installed the new cherry lights was fulfilling for me. It’s important for us to help out the community.”
Linda Trinh, president of PG&E’s Asian Employee Resource Group and a business finance analyst principal, served as a float judge for the parade. For Trinh, who grew up in San Francisco attending the annual parade with her family, being a judge was an honor for her.
“Seeing all of the floats, performances and bands reminded me of how this parade not only celebrates the rich cultural history of San Francisco,” said Trinh, “but also promotes all types of diversity.”
That thought wasn’t lost on PG&E’s Gabrielle Almeida, electric senior mapping technician, who works in Sacramento. Almeida’s family and friends got to see her walk in the parade.
“What a better way to experience the parade for the first time than to be walking in it,” said Almeida. “Our company prides itself on recognizing diversity. There’s no better way to demonstrate that than to show it by supporting our Bay Area Asian-American Community. It makes me proud to be an employee of this great company.”
San Francisco’s Lunar New Year parade was started in the 1860s as a way for Chinese living in The City to share their culture with those unfamiliar with it. The parade is the largest of its kind in the world and is televised throughout the United States, Canada and Asia.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.