Kudos to our customers who in 2009 saved enough electricity to power over 6,800 Inland Northwest homes for a year and enough natural gas to serve over 3,000 homes! These savings show that every little bit we do in our homes and businesses to save energy really do add up.
What did customers do to save so much energy last year? They looked for the Energy Star ® label when buying new appliances, installed high efficiency water heaters and furnaces, and upgraded windows and insulation to help keep their homes warm in winter and cool in summer.
For their efforts, customers qualified for rebates and incentives from Avista and reduced the amount of energy used in their homes. Commercial customers also received incentives for making energy efficiency improvements which helps manage their operating costs.
In total almost 35,000 rebates and incentives totaling about $18.1 million were given to residential, commercial, industrial and limited-income customers in 2009 through energy efficiency programs. But offering energy savings programs to customers is nothing new to us – we’ve been doing for more than 30 years.
To make sure we’re able to keep up with the increasing demand from customers for the popular energy efficiency programs, we filed requests today with the utility commissions in Washington and Idaho for modest increases in the natural gas tariffs which fund these programs. If approved by the utility commissions, residential natural gas customers in Washington will see a $2.54 increase in their bill starting March 15, and Idaho residential customers will see a $1.52 monthly increase.
This leads to the question – why do we help customers use less of our product? Because generally it costs less to help customers reduce their energy use than it would cost to build new power plants or purchase additional energy to meet customer demand. Plus, using less energy is the best option for our environment.