Utility energy efficiency programs expand

By admin on January 11, 2012

According to a new report from the Institute for Electric Efficiency (IEE), Americans saved enough electricity to power almost 10 million homes in 2010, which is 21 percent better than we did the previous year. The report analyzed utility energy efficiency programs, which are expanding so quickly that the IEE expects them to surpass forecasts predicting $12 billion budgeted annually for efficiency by 2020. Utilities spent $4.8 billion in 2010 on energy efficiency, about 28 percent more than the previous year, and $6.8 billion in 2011, a 25 percent increase.

“This steady increase in electricity savings is really impressive,” said Lisa Wood, IEE executive director in an article on Renewable Energy World. “And, the growth in electric utility expenditures for energy efficiency is the major reason behind it.”

The article goes on to explain that efficiency is considered a good investment for utilities because it’s cheaper to save energy than make energy, with the recent report estimating the cost of saving energy at between 3.5 and 4.3 cents/kWh. According to IEE, about half of the states, representing two-thirds of the US population, have energy efficiency standards set by state governments mandating that utilities save a set percentage of energy annually.

While some states and regions are doing better than others when it comes to energy efficiency, several states that did not make the top 10 are quickly improving their programs. The IEE report found that five states doubled their energy efficiency budgets for 2011: Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Texas also recently launched a new energy efficiency program powered by Simple Energy, allowing customers in Houston and Dallas to compete with their friends and neighbors to save energy. Following the incredible results of a pilot program completed in San Diego, which succeeded in more than doubling energy savings among participating residential customers during a three-month period, expanding access to this platform in Texas has the potential to create dramatic savings.

Learn more here about how the Simple Energy platform works to make saving energy social, fun and simple.