SAN DIEGO – A new program announced Wednesday by San Diego Gas & Electric will pay customers for cutting down energy use when the state’s power grid is overtaxed.

The company said its Power Saver Rewards Program could be implemented at any point through Oct. 31 and is contingent on the California Independent System Operator issuing a Flex Alert or an Energy Emergency Alert Watch. When activated, customers could receive a $2 credit for each kilowatt-hour of electricity saved compared to their regular use from 4 to 9 p.m.

The program is voluntary and free to join, the company said, and customers aren’t penalized for not reducing their energy use.

In a statement, Hollie Bierman, SDG&E’s director of customer programs, said joining the effort will allow people to save on their energy bills “while also helping to keep the grid reliable for all Californians on those hot summer days.”

“Our regional grid is interconnected with the rest of the state, and we appreciate our customers’ willingness to do their part to help,” Bierman said.

Cal-ISO urged residents to cut power several times last summer as warmer temperatures triggered higher demand on the state’s electrical grid. In Flex Alerts, customers are encouraged to keep thermostats at 78 degrees or higher and observe voluntary measures like not using major appliances and turning off unnecessary lights.

Eligible program participants must be residential electric customers with a smart meter, the company said. They also can not participate if they’re already involved with another incentive program including AC Saver and Capacity Bidding.

Those wanting to enroll into the program can do so by submitting an application online here.