Amerin and Commonwealth Edison’s Energy Conservation Programs – soooo 1980’s

I know that this post is about 2 months 2 late. But when these programs were announced, I eh yaaaaawned. Why is it that Illinois is mired in the past? These programs were all the rage in the 1980’s. Most intelligent utilities established them in the 1990’s. OH never mind…

February 22, 2008 Business section, the State Journal Register:

Utilities offering incentives to cut power usage




That old refrigerator could be worth $35 this summer. Provided it was made prior to 1993.

A refrigerator-recycling program is among a laundry list of consumer incentives that will

be offered in Illinois starting June 1 to encourage reduced power usage. The state’s two

 largest utilities, Ameren and ComEd, both were required to submit the plans as part of a

 $1 billion rate-relief package approved by legislators and the gover­nor last year.

Ameren customers will pay on average another 36 cents a month to cover the cost of the

 programs, according to the utility.

“The idea is to reduce usage during the periods of peak demand,” said Beth Bosch of the

Illinois Com­merce Commission, which just approved energy-savings programs for both

Ameren and ComEd in Chicago.

Last year’s rate-relief plan resulted after power bills for some consumers doubled and

tripled with the lifting of a 10-year freeze on rates Jan. 1, 2007. The freeze was part of a 1997

utility reform bill intend­ed to encourage more compe­tition in Illinois power mar­kets.

As part of the rate-relief package, the utilities were re­quired to devise incentive programs

for reducing cus­tomer use.

The 13 energy-saving meas­ures in the Ameren program range from refrigerator recy­cling

to a voluntary initiative that would allow the utility to remotely switch off residential central-air

units for a few minutes during peak demand.

Large industrial customers have long had the option of interruptible service.

Florida was among the early states to set up volun­tary interruption-of-service programs

for residential elec­tric customers, said David Ko-lata, executive director of the Citizens Utility

Board, a Chicago-based consumer ad­vocacy group.

CUB also played a key role in devising last year’s rate-re­lief plan.

“The way these programs work, is when prices get real­ly high, you cycle the air con­ditioner

off for 15 minutes (each hour). The consumer usually gets paid $20 to $30 a year so the utility

 has that op­tion,” Kolata said.

He called the energy-sav­ing programs a “good start,” but said CUB also remains concerned

that utilities are largely responsible for imple­menting the programs.

Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris said details still must be worked out, including for the

refrigerator recycling. He added that the voluntary in­terruption of service likely would attract

only a small percentage of customers.

“All of these programs are aimed at reducing usage without sacrificing comfort,” Morris said.

Ameren has set a goal of reducing electricity demand equal to the usage of 7,700 single-family

homes in the first year, 23,300 homes in the second year and 46,700 in the third. The utility

just filed a similar energy-savings pro­gram for natural gas cus­tomers, which still must be approved

 by the ICC.

Tim Landis can be reached at 788-1536.

CES is underwhelmed.

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