Protest Ameren Rate Hikes – Email the ICC and tell them to cut rates

As I said yesterday, I went to the rate hike hearing for Ameren and it was a joke. The room was packed with suits and special interests and only three of us spoke. Residential occupants are currently paying between 13 and 12 cents per kilowatt for electricity. This is outrageous. I only found one website with a clear statement about this and it was:

There is a place where you can go to lodge a protest.

The docket numbers for the electric and gas rate hikes are 11-0279 and 11-0282 respectely. Please go there and tell them that in this economy a rate CUT is the only thing that makes sense. Thanks

Oh, you type the docket number into their e-docket finder blank at the top right of their page and when the docket comes up their is a tab for comments. Fill that form out and hit submit and you are all done. Spread the word. The more people that comment the greater the impact.


More tomorrow.


ICC Hearing A Joke – 15 minutes, 3 speakers and it was over

OK so it wasn’t really the Commission or the Commission Staff’s fault. Not even AARP’s,  though I was surprised that only 2 of their people spoke. I think it was their regional Director who is in Chicago and then what I took to be one of their local members. She ended up talking to the AARP  National Gazette reporter that was there so I split. But still, I got up as the third speaker and gave my classic “times are bad for people and the rates should be cut” spiel.  I was out the door in 15 minutes and arrived late. The ultimate blame falls on the poor people who have been crushed into submission. Unless they rise up and speak nothing will happen. Turn off their power at the same time or something like that, as a protest then utility companies will continue to roll.

August 22, 2011                                                                                      Contact:   Beth Bosch



ICC Sets Public Hearing On Ameren Rate Increases

For August 30

The Illinois Commerce Commission has scheduled a public forum Tuesday, August 30 to gather comments on Ameren Illinois’ proposal to increase rates for the delivery of natural gas and electricity to its customers.

The forum will be held at 1 p.m. in the Commission’s main hearing room, 527 E. Capitol Ave., Springfield.

Ameren proposed increasing rates for gas and electric delivery service to generate an estimated $110.5 million in new annual revenue.  Ameren proposed increasing electric rates for CIPS customers by appropoximately 11 percent, CILCO customers by 16.5 percent and IP customers by about 2.5 percent.  The company proposed increasing gas rates for CIPS customers by approximately 15.5 percent, CILCO customers by 24.0 percent and IP customers by 14.5 percent.

Oral and written comments will be accepted at the meeting.

Ameren Illinois’ rate case proposals are available on the ICC e-docket system.  To access all documents filed in the cases, enter the case numbers in the box on the front page of the ICC website at .   The docket numbers are 11-0279 (electricity) and 11-0282 (natural gas).

Comments may also be filed anytime on the Commission’s website under public comments.

# # #


More tomorrow.


Compare Electricity Rates – Another request for links and guest post

This is probably something like an advertising/actual content/simple search engine site. I make no claims about the sites CES links with. I got no legitimacy meter. This was not the article they wanted me to use but this one seemed a little more in line with the type of stuff I post. I would add two things to this list if you are capable of them, turn off your water heater and your air condition if it is in the summer and if if it is winter, dial back your heat dramatically.

Attributed to:  Katherine Tworsey

Planning a vacation, time to get away from the hustle and bustle of life is fun and exciting, and if you remember to turn off these 10 things before you go on vacation, you will worry less about what’s going “on” at home and really enjoy your vacation!

  1. Lights: It might seem obvious to turn off the lights while you are away, but some people completely forget. You will save a bundle in electricity costs. Do consider, however, one or maybe two lights on a timer switch in a front room or bedroom, so it looks as if the lights are going on and off throughout the evening. Homes are less likely to be broken into if someone is home.
  2. Your coffee pot: don’t just turn off your coffee pot, and other small appliances, but unplug them completely. Many small appliances continue drawing electricity even when not in use. By unplugging them, you will be saving electricity as well as preventing a possible fire.
  3. Computer: Generally speaking, it is not good to have a computer sit idle, but when you are away from home, you must take extra care to protect your computer and files it contains. Unplug it from both the electrical service and disconnect it from the internet. Be sure to back up all your files before you leave either using an online service or external hard drive that is stored away from your computer.
  4. Wall Warts: Those little transformer boxes that charge electronic devices, cell phones, lap-top computers, etc; take a walk around your house and see how many chargers are plugged into electrical outlets with the other end open and waiting for some device to get charged up. Unplug them all before you leave!
  5. Garage door opener: Unplugging the motor of your garage door opener will ensure that no one will find a compatible opener and get your door open. Leave an extra key to the walk-in garage door with a trusted neighbor, so you won’t have any problems getting in when you get home.


More tomorrow.


Anne Logue Posted This On Facebook Today – Nuclear Power no thanks

I know I have been doing residential energy conservation stuff the last few weeks but a buddy on Facebook posted the Nuclear Power No Thanks button today. I had not thought of that for 20 years or more. I went to my first anti-nuke protest when I was 14. So by the time the button started circulating in 1977, I was an “old man” in the protest business. But seeing it reminded me that there is a lighter side to the world of social change. Plus Ann is cute as a button herself.



You all have a great weekend. More on Monday.


If You Are In The Carolinas – These people can help you with your residential energy improvements

Every once in awhile I post about a company. But the same disclaimer always goes with such posts. I like my HVAC guy but if I posted about him here he would get the same disclaimer. I am not familiar with this company. Please check with the Better Business Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce, the Attorney General of the state or State’s Attorney whatever is the case, and finally ask for and check out references. Without further hullabaloo:

Home Energy Improvement Program

If you’re interested in making your home more energy-efficient, look no further than the Home Energy Improvement Program. Through this Progress Energy program, you can:

  • Receive rebates for improving your home’s energy efficiency.
  • Get a list of specially trained contractors you can use to complete your home improvements.
  • Learn more about the financial and other benefits of having an energy-efficient home.


View a short video about the HVAC audit for residential customers.

Energy efficiency: An investment that pays you back

Energy efficiency is one of the few investments that can help you gain a return on your energy bill and on the value of your home. View the program details tab to learn more about home improvement rebates offered by Progress Energy:

  • Air duct testing – Up to $60
  • Air duct repair and replacement – Up to $120
  • Attic insulation upgrade and attic sealing – $375
  • Energy-efficient window installation – Up to $450
  • Geothermal heat pump replacement – $300
  • HVAC Audit – $100
  • High-efficiency heat pump replacement – $300
  • High-efficiency central AC replacement – $300


More tomorrow.



Another 20 Ways To Save Energy List – Cool name though EcoMall

As I have pointed out in the past, these lists are pretty much all the same. Plus they usually don’t mention the bigger items like taking windows out of service (alternatively applying low e film) or blocking off unused space but, the name is really cool.




Whenever you save energy, you not only save money, you also reduce the demand for such fossil fuels as coal, oil, and natural gas. Less burning of fossil fuels also means lower emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary contributor to global warming, and other pollutants.

You do not have to do without to achieve these savings. There is now an energy efficient alternative for almost every kind of appliance or light fixture. That means that consumers have a real choice and the power to change their energy use on a revolutionary scale.

The average American produces about 40,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per year. Together, we use nearly a million dollars worth of energy every minute, night and day, every day of the year. By exercising even a few of the following steps, you can cut your annual emissions by thousands of pounds and your energy bills by a significant amount!


Home appliances



  • Turn your refrigerator down. Refrigerators account for about 20% of Household electricity use. Use a thermometer to set your refrigerator temperature as close to 37 degrees and your freezer as close to 3 degrees as possible. Make sure that its energy saver switch is turned on. Also, check the gaskets around your refrigerator/freezer doors to make sure they are clean and sealed tightly. 

  • Set your clothes washer to the warm or cold water setting, not hot. Switching from hot to warm for two loads per week can save nearly 500 pounds of CO2 per year if you have an electric water heater, or 150 pounds for a gas heater. 

  • Make sure your dishwasher is full when you run it and use the energy saving setting, if available, to allow the dishes to air dry. You can also turn off the drying cycle manually. Not using heat in the drying cycle can save 20 percent of your dishwasher’s total electricity use. 

  • Turn down your water heater thermostat. Thermostats are often set to 140 degrees F when 120 is usually fine. Each 10 degree reduction saves 600 pounds of CO2 per year for an electric water heater, or 440 pounds for a gas heater. If every household turned its water heater thermostat down 20 degrees, we could prevent more than 45 million tons of annual CO2 emissions – the same amount emitted by the entire nations of Kuwait or Libya. 

  • Select the most energy-efficient models when you replace your old appliances. Look for the Energy Star Label – your assurance that the product saves energy and prevents pollution. Buy the product that is sized to your typical needs – not the biggest one available. Front loading washing machines will usually cut hot water use by 60 to 70% compared to typical machines. Replacing a typical 1973 refrigerator with a new energy-efficient model, saves 1.4 tons of CO2 per year. Investing in a solar water heater can save 4.9 tons of CO2 annually.


    I gave you the first 5. You have to go read the rest yourself. More tomorrow.


    Saving Energy Contest In Upstate New York – It is great to be a loser

    This is what can happen when the entire energy related sector cooperates. Too bad it doesn’t happen everywhere.

    The Biggest Losers win in Home Energy Efficiency Contest in Saratoga Springs

    PostDateIcon February 14th, 2011 | PostAuthorIcon Author: admin

    The Biggest Losers Win
    A Sustainable Saratoga Campaign to Promote Energy Efficiency and Conservation.

    (Saratoga Springs, NY)  — The local Biggest Loser Energy Challenge sponsored by Sustainable Saratoga came to a close last week as a group of Saratoga Springs neighbors representing ten households sallied forth in sub-zero weather to focus an infrared camera on their houses in the last educational activity of the contest. As participants each looked at their houses on the camera screen, tell-tale glowing lights signified heat escaping into the cold night air. The infrared camera visually demonstrated where heat losses were the greatest, and gave opposing team members ammunition for teasing owners about missed opportunities to make their homes more energy efficient.

    After the chilly outing, participants compared the final tally of their energy consumption over a six-month period to see which group had managed to cut energy use and waste by the largest percentage over the same period last year. Although both teams were happy “losers”, one group did reduce more than the other.

    The participants encountered some surprises.  First, it was interesting to see energy use trends over time as there were unexpected spikes and dips in therms (gas) and kilowatts (electricity). Several people who halved their electricity usage speculated in hindsight how they did it. One had unplugged her clothes dryer and used line drying in her basement instead. Another had purchased a new refrigerator that replaced a 30 year old one, exchanged an old cable box for a new one and put the flat screen TV on a plug that could be turned off in order to prevent the significant stand-by energy these modern TVs burn, as well as the hole in our pockets.


    Please go there and read more.


    More tomorrow.


    Energy Conservation The UK Way – Stiff upper lip and all

    Pip pip.

    • You are here (UK)




    If you are looking for ways to stop wasting energy and money you’ll find lots of ideas here. The Energy Saving Trust is a non-profit organisation that provides free and impartial advice on how to save energy.

    The Renewable Heat Premium Payment has been announced as part of the Renewable Heat Incentive – find out more and apply now >

    For all the latest news, read the Energy Saving Trust’s blog >

    Sign up for our EU Life+ ‘Combining water and energy efficiency’ event on 22nd September


    Stay up to date with the latest news

    Have you joined the world of Facebook? Become a fan of the Energy Saving Trust and get energy saving tips and information on a daily basis, whether you’re sat at home or out and about.


    Become a fan today!

    What’s happening near you?

    Want to know what’s going on in your area? Find helpful, localised information about all things energy saving with ‘Where I Live’.


    What’s happening in your local area?



    More tomorrow.


    Home Energy Audit – You can’t save energy until you know where you are using it

    Trying to save energy (re: money) without knowing where you are using it is like assembling something without reading the instructions. Sometimes it works but most times it doesn’t.



    Getting to the Bottom of Home Energy Use



    In 1949, according to DOE’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), residential electricity consumption was 5% of total residential energy consumption. By 2009, it was 40%. This rise is attributable to many factors—appliance and equipment saturation, innovations in electronic technology, larger houses, and greater disposable income, among others. According to DOE, end-use electricity consumption will continue to grow as a percentage of total household energy consumption. As electricity consumption grows, so does base-load household electricity consumption—that year-round electrical load upon which seasonal electrical loads, like air-conditioning and space heating, are stacked. Water heating, refrigerators and freezers, lighting, laundry and kitchen appliances, electronics and entertainment devices, pumps, and miscellaneous plugged-in loads are common base-load end uses. All additional electricity use—from occasionally used devices, tools, or equipment; visitors; short-term construction jobs; and so on—is consumed on top of base-load use. And the fervent appetite for new and as-yet-unimagined appliances and electronic devices is expected to climb. Growth is why base-load end use is an important topic.
    Subscribe to the magazine and read the rest.

    More next week.


    I Never Miss The State Fair – But sometimes it require grit

    Man the State Fair was kinda disappointing for me this year, at least from an energy perspective. Now I admit that the first year I started posting here was a pretty heady year. IDE had 2 booths for energy conservation. One was for seniors and one for the general public. Conservation World was packed. The Sierra Club had a tent with CWLP complete witha solar exhibit and a hybrid car. There were doors and windows guys galore in the Exhibition Hall, and even a guy selling wind turbines. The AG Equipment section even had an exhibit about biofuels. This year there was nada until I stopped at the “don’t mess with powerlines” guys tent (sorry – Live Line Demos) and saw the Wall Of Efficiencies display that was sharing space with him. Here is my picture.

    That is Aaron Ridenour of PPI. According to him, they originally got the Wall to take to there members Board Members meeting but since then it has been to North Dakota, Kansas and Washington DC. They were actually in a Senate Hearing concerning a Coops Bill.

    Here is what they say about it:

    tilized by PPI and its member cooperatives over the past few years. The sixteen foot “Energy Efficiency Walls” illustrate various opportunities for air infiltration or leakage within the common home due to poor construction practices and materials. The displays address: energy efficient construction practices and materials, and energy efficient equipment and technologies. The proper use of caulking around penetration points in the home’s external walls, such as window and door openings, gas, water, AC and heating system fuel lines and ventilation systems, and the selection and installation of energy efficient insulation materials, ventilation equipment and lighting systems are just a few of the energy efficient items illustrated in the Walls. Utilizing the displays at member cooperatives’ annual membership meetings, NRECA and Touchstone Energy regional events, community college workshops and educational classes, … homebuilder shows, county fairs, legislative briefings in Washington DC to promote energy efficiency loan programs and other events, … over 400,000 consumers have been exposed to the educational opportunities of the Energy Efficiency Walls since 2009.


    More tomorrow.