By Peter Main
SWEPCO Corporate Communications–Fayetteville
Last weekend folks attending the Energy Efficiency Fair at the Fayetteville Public Library heard about some of the ways that Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) customers can save money and energy. We were pleased to be able to participate in the event and share information on a wide range of energy efficiency programs and incentives available to Arkansas residents and businesses. (http://www.SWEPCOgridSMART.com)
So what do customers and utilities get out of these programs?
For customers, it’s about learning how they can take action to use energy more wisely and save money in the process. Electricity costs in Arkansas are lower than in many other parts of the country, but they are certainly an important part of home and business budgets. Finding ways to use less electricity and lower your electric bill can free up family budget dollars for other needs, or lower business operations costs for a better bottom line. For many customers, there’s also the added value of being a good steward of the environment by using less electricity.
For utilities like SWEPCO, it’s about reducing the peak demand for energy. We encourage energy efficiency and demand response programs to help minimize the need for new generating capacity and to meet our environmental and sustainability goals. Our “big picture” view of meeting customers’ energy needs is called an integrated resource plan. Energy efficiency is one of the resources needed in a diversified approach to meeting customers’ demand for electricity. Cost-effective programs that can reduce electricity usage and peak demand are a benefit to the utility – and more importantly – to our customers.
Support for energy efficiency has grown among our stakeholders, including customers and regulators, and we have expanded our programs in Arkansas. SWEPCO implemented six energy efficiency programs under the Arkansas Public Service Commission’s initial Energy Efficiency Rules in 2007. In 2010, we received Commission approval for a much more comprehensive set of programs. Program spending grew from $ 1.6 million in 2010 to approximately $3.4 million in 2011.
Customers can find information on SWEPCO’s programs and incentives, including rebates, at http://www.SWEPCOgridSMART.com.
- Rebates on ENERGY STAR CFLs and appliance (refrigerators, clothes washers, window air conditioners)
- Rebates for improvements including insulation, duct sealing, air conditioning or heat pump replacement, air filtration, and more
- Rebates for home energy audits designed to help you identify problem areas in your home and the most beneficial energy efficiency improvements that will improve comfort and save you money
- An online energy use calculator
- A list of contractors participating in SWEPCO’s energy efficiency programs
- Information on the Arkansas Weatherization Program
SWEPCO’s Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Program provides incentives to retail, manufacturing, commercial real estate, hospitality, food service facilities, and small businesses to reduce peak electric demand and annual energy consumption, resulting in improved building performance and comfort. Incentives are available for existing buildings and new construction and are based on the verified electric energy and demand savings. Incentives range from lighting, HVAC and motor upgrades to refrigerator/freezer doors, compressed air systems and renewable energy systems,
The SWEPCO gridSMART website also includes energy efficiency programs for Government, Education and Non-Profits.
Other utilities in Northwest Arkansas and throughout the state also offer energy efficiency programs. Check out the Arkansas Energy Office website for more information and links to other utilities’ program offerings.