Friday, May 22, 2009

Free, from PG&E

Some work was done on my house yesterday. It came about as a result of the Pacific Gas and Electric C.A.R.E program. The C.A.R.E program is for low and fixed incomes.

I feel a bit embarrassed about them doing all that work free of charge since it kind of makes me a low- life, but I am also grateful. Whether or not I see a change in my gas and electric bill remains to be seen.

It started a couple weeks ago when a gal from PG&E called. We've been on the C.A.R.E program for maybe 3 years now and she told us we qualified to have a free home inspection and some free energy efficiency modifications done. I agreed to have a home inspection made and she gave me a number of choices for an appointment the very next day.

I had to work, but Connie was home when the inspector guy came. He took a look and listed some things that would be taken care of, including some we could of easily done ourselves like replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent. He also said they'd be replacing our refrigerator as ours is over 20 years old. They claim a new refrigerator will cut the energy cost of the appliance in half. We shall see.

So, about a week later that same guy calls and sets up an appointment for the contractors to do the work. We made the appointment for yesterday between 9am and 10. They showed up a bit before 9 and went to work. I forget the name of the company. They wore green shirts.

They roved around the house looking at things to take care of. I got the impression that they had a list the PG&E guy gave them but could add things to it if they felt it needed doing. All kinds of things ended up being done.

They replaced a few of our light fixtures with fluorescent fixtures. Put vents of some sort in support of our forced air and water heaters. Caulked up a few places where air might be leaking into the house and put weather stripping on the doors. I guess if you had broken windows they'll replace them with those sealed, two pane windows, but none of our conventional windows were broken.

I got a little bit bothered when the boss guy was looking at our Wedgewood stove and made it sound like it should be replaced with a new stove. Hey, that's my stove, dude! But that never got too far. We told him we were happy with the one we have and don't have room for 2 stoves.

Truth be told, I'd appreciate a newer energy saving stove, but nobody's taking away our Wedgewood. The Wedgewood stays.

They were here close to 6 hours. The last thing they did was a test for carbon monoxide- the house being sealed better now, the more danger of CO. He found a couple burners on the stove he said were over the limit and needed to be looked at, despite us having a carbon monoxide detector about 5 feet from the stove. He called PG&E to report it and they left.

The PG&E gas guy arrived in less than an hour. He checked out the stove and said CO was within acceptable limits. Nice guy. Enjoyed talking to him. He told us there was a bit of a disconnect between PG&E and their energy contractors and he shouldn't have necessarily been called out to our house immediately for the CO levels we had.

I also mentioned to him, despite him being a gas guy, I didn't think our refrigerator cost $30.00 a month as their calculator claimed. He said it most likely did and a new one should cut the cost in half.

Ok. We shall see. Don't know when they'll be giving us our free replacement fridge, but first they'll likely have a different contractor come out and install one of those ground fault plugs in the kitchen, then the fridge.

I do feel somewhat ashamed. Then again, I was paying for this stuff just like the rest of you are now. Heck, maybe I still am? I guess part of your energy bill goes to pay for energy efficient upgrades for low- lifes like me, but even some of the well- off get to take advantage of this.

The gas guy was saying it was kinda kooky how the program works. He said if a landlord had 30 rental units, the landlord essentially got a free refrigerator (or stove, or whatever) if the tenant met C.A.R.E guidelines. The tenants qualifications are what matter, not the landlord's.

So, once the tenant leaves, the landlord gets to keep the new appliance. I agree with the gas guy that the tenant should be able to take the appliance with them, or so I would think that would be fair.

Anyway, thanks for the work done so far, PG&E.



At 11:59 AM, Blogger "Bob" said...

C.A.R.E. not D.A.R.E. -- D.A.R.E. is Drug Abuse Resistance Education, an anti-dope brainwashing program in schools, or as they put it:

"D.A.R.E.'s primary mission is to provide children with the information and skills they need to live drug-and-violence-free lives.
The mission is to equip kids with the tools that will enable them to avoid negative influences and instead, allow them to focus on their strengths and potential. And, that's exactly what D.A.R.E. is designed to do.
Additionally, it establishes positive relationships between students and law enforcement, teachers, parents, and other community leaders. Every youngster should have the opportunity to grow-up healthy, safe, secure, and equipped with the skills needed to succeed in life. Contemporary America, however, is rampant with challenges that could keep children from a positive life path."

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I knew that.

At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RCAA also does the same thing here at times when they have funds for energy projects and also replace refrigerators. Replaced some windows that weren't broken (jalousy type that always leak air). Tenants applied for this program.


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