Pacific Gas & Electric Company
Energy Saver Showerhead Coupon Program

The purpose of the Energy-Saver Showerhead Coupon Program was to replace existing inefficient showerheads with water-efficient ones. Because California law forbids the sale of inefficient showerheads, replacement will eventually happen but this program was designed to accelerate replacement. PG&E’s effort was highly successful. The first year’s distribution exceeded the program’s initial goal by 420%.

The main delivery mechanism was rebate coupons obtained and redeemed at the point of purchase. These coupons allowed the consumers to receive up to a $4 rebate toward the cost of each showerhead they purchased. The coupons were returned to PG&E by the participating retailers who were then reimbursed for the rebates. This type of program requires a minimum amount of administrative cost and almost no labor cost.

The program also included two much smaller components, direct installation and a special events giveaway. Together the two smaller components were responsible for the distribution of only 26,833 showerheads while the Energy-Saver coupons were responsible for the distribution of over 526,000 showerheads. All three components are described at length in the Implementation section. Although the program title makes reference only to the Energy-Saver coupons, the savings and cost numbers in this profile include the contributions from all three components.

One of the most unique and potentially helpful aspects of this program was its evaluations. Both a telephone survey and on-site data collection were done. The information that was gathered was invaluable in determining the net to gross ratio (how many showerheads actually resulted in a net energy savings) and for estimating the average annual savings per showerhead.

The annual energy savings from the first year of the program are 11.5 GWh of electricity, 4.1 therms of natural gas, and 797 kW of capacity. This was achieved at a total cost of $2.6 million. The penetration rate for the estimated number of targeted showerheads was ~8.1% after the first year. The program is being continued in 1992 and plans have been developed to extend it through 1995.

Because showerhead retrofits are a common utility DSM measure this profile contains an expanded discussion of the different types of delivery mechanisms that utility companies have commonly employed to implement a showerhead program. (See Delivery Mechanisms section). This discussion includes a comparison of cost and estimated penetration rates for the different mechanisms.

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In the early and mid 1990s The Results Center produced 126 case studies of the most successful energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in the United States and around the world. With the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Ted Flanigan directed a research team at Colorado-based IRT Environment to produce and distribute these exceptional examples. Thanks to strong demand for case studies, The Results Center was supported by dozens of major utilities and energy associations worldwide. The Results Center is again producing the case studies it has been known for, still under the direction of Ted Flanigan, but now at EcoMotion Incorporated, a firm focused on strategic consulting, information dissemination, program design, outreach services, and aggressive implementation. To nominate highly successful programs, contact: The Results Center, c/o EcoMotion, 15375 Barranca Parkway, F-104, Irvine, CA 92618, (949) 450-7155, or TFlanigan@EcoMotion.us