Salt Lake City—October 5 was National Energy Efficiency Day, and Utah Clean Energy and a group of business and energy leaders are encouraging Rocky Mountain Power not to cut its highly-successful wattsmart program.
For more than a decade, Rocky Mountain Power has asked its customers to be “wattsmart” in their homes and businesses, and has offered incentives to use energy-efficient technologies such as LED lighting, building controls and efficient heating and cooling systems. Since 2008, this successful program has reduced electricity use by 2.2 billion kilowatt hours and saved Utah families and businesses an estimated $1 billion in electricity costs, according to analysis by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. In fact, due in part to Rocky Mountain Power’s wattsmart program, Utah recently gained three spots in a national scorecard for energy efficiency.
Rocky Mountain Power recently proposed reducing the amount of electricity savings under the wattsmart program by 32 percent beginning in 2018. Utah Clean Energy, a local nonprofit advocacy organization, finds that the cut in the utility’s energy efficiency incentive programs would result in losing out on 110,850 megawatt hours of electricity savings in 2018. This is enough electricity to power over 12,000 homes for a year and is equal to the emissions from burning over 83 million pounds of coal.
“Rocky Mountain Power has a strong track record for delivering successful energy efficiency programs, which deserve special recognition today on Energy Efficiency Day. Consumers and businesses participating in the wattsmart program have cut electricity waste and lowered their electricity bills, while also preserving natural resources, reducing pollution and supporting some of the estimated 30,000 workers in Utah’s energy efficiency industry,” said Kevin Emerson, Utah Clean Energy’s energy efficiency program director. “At the same time, it’s disappointing that the utility is planning dramatic cuts when efficiency brings so many benefits to our state.”
Along with a handful of business and community leaders, Utah Clean Energy is asking Rocky Mountain Power to commit to a level of electricity savings that is at least as high as that from its previous 20-year plan issued in 2015, or even higher, in order to be on a par with other leading American utilities.
“The wattsmart energy efficiency program benefits Utah businesses, families, and the utility. We have supported Rocky Mountain Power for many decades and have participated in the wattsmart energy efficiency program from the beginning. Since 2009, dozens of projects have saved Varex 6.5 million kilowatt hours (6,500 megawatt hours) of energy each year. This equates to a 21 percent annual energy reduction for us that has freed up enough electricity to power more than 7000 average sized homes,” stated Clarence Verhoef, Chief Financial Officer of Varex Imaging Corporation. “We believe Rocky Mountain Power’s energy efficiency programs help to lower our pollution footprint and make smart use of Utah’s shared energy resources. We strongly encourage other businesses to take advantage of opportunities to expand their energy efficiency programs.”
Emerson continued, “When Rocky Mountain Power helps Utahns save electricity, it costs just three cents for every kilowatt hour saved through energy efficiency incentive programs, making efficiency less expensive than many other energy resources. We hope that in the future Utah businesses and families will have more – not fewer – opportunities to cut electricity costs when they participate in the successful wattsmart program.”
Utah Clean Energy and local business and energy leaders are urging Rocky Mountain Power to abandon its proposal to cut back on energy efficiency programs, and instead, commit to achieving higher levels of energy savings starting in 2018 and into the future. The Utah Public Services Commission will be considering this issue in two regulatory dockets this autumn.
For more information and for updates on this effort visit www.utahcleanenergy.org