Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pennsylvania's Energy Efficiency Program Powering Up

The disasters at Fukushima, BP Oil Spill, Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion drive home the perils of our energy choices.  They also underline the imperative and opportunity presented by using energy efficiently.

And here is a great example of the power of efficiency.

In the last year, 50,000 customers of PECO, Met-Ed, PPL removed an old, working refrigerator, got it picked up by their utility, and received a check for doing so. The program saves participating customers money, saves non-participating consumers money, cuts pollution, and creates directly 50 green jobs and more by putting more money in the pockets of consumers.  It is a win-win-win-win energy solution and points the way to more smart, clean energy solutions.

Congratulations to each utility and the Public Utility Commission for operating this strong program.  Please read on.

The PECO, Met-Ed, PPL refrigerator recycling program is just one of the many fruits of Act 129 passed in October 2008.  Old refrigerators use 3 times the power of a new one and can account easily for 10% to 20% of a household's bill. Act 129 requires electric utilities to cut yearly consumption and annual peak demand by specific amounts and removing old refrigerators is a smart way of complying.

Energy conservation is the lowest cost option for keeping electric service reliable.  Saving a kilowatt-hour costs often 3 cents or less.  Buying a kilowatt-hour in the spot market costs more.  Building a new power plant to produce power costs even more still.

Energy savings last year  from removing the 50,000 refrigerators were 85,000 megawatt-hours or 85 million kilowatt-hours or enough power for at least 7,000 homes.  These energy savings benefit all consumers of the utility by lowering the cost of providing electric service and especially by lowering peak electric demand that is very expensive to meet.

50,000 customers is a bit more than 1% of all the residential electricity consumers of the 4.97 million residential cusotmers in Pennsylvania.  About 3.1 million residential customers are in the PECO, Met-Ed, and PPl service territories.

This refrigerator removal program, as most energy efficiency programs do, also reduces soot, smog, mercury, and heat trapping gas pollution.  Saving energy saves your health and the health of others.

In the case of the refrigerator and freezer removal program, 50 green jobs were created at JAYCO recycling facilities in Montgomery and Allegheny counties where the refrigerators are disassembled and recylced.  I had the privilege of opening the Montgomery county Jayco plant and it is a great operation with good paying, green jobs.

Saving energy creates jobs indirectly too by cutting their electric bills and putting more money in consumers' pockets.  Consumers use that money for other needs and services and create jobs when that money buys meals, shoes, and so on.

Call 1-800-270-3521 if you are a PECO or Met-Ed customer and 1-877-270-3522 if you are a PPL Electric Utilities customer and want to get rid of an old, cold energy hog!

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