Puget Sound Energy announced recently that the utility’s energy efficiency programs and customers’ conservation actions taken in 2008 will save customers nearly $30 million annually on their energy bills, in addition to the $45 million in rebates, grants and discounts customers already received on energy-saving equipment.
These actions taken by customers will also reduce their total carbon footprint by more than 450 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually, or the same as taking 38,000 cars off the road.
“Our success in 2008 can be attributed to our customers and employees. Together, we achieved a remarkable level of energy savings – the highest electricity and natural gas savings ever achieved by Puget Sound Energy,” said Cal Shirley, vice president of Energy Efficiency Services for PSE.
Exceeding savings targets by more than 26 percent for electricity and 46 percent for natural gas – all-time record highs for the utility, PSE residential and business customers saved enough electricity in 2008 to power 23,000 homes or a community the size of Bainbridge Island, Wash., and enough natural gas in a year to serve more than 4,000 homes or the equivalent of the Fremont neighborhood in Seattle.
Based on recent industry studies, PSE estimates that its investments in conservation programs resulted in 450 new jobs throughout Western Washington. While other employers were forced to cut jobs, the increased customer interest in energy efficiency has generated new positions at the utility and the local contractors and distributors who support its programs.
Electric savings for 2008 beat the utility’s previous record by 8 percent, and natural gas savings were similarly record breaking at more than 30 percent over 2007 savings.
In 2008 overall, customers received efficiency rebates totaling $27 million for 81,000 efficient equipment purchases and 3.1 million compact fluorescent light bulbs. Also, more than 800 local businesses received PSE energy management grants totaling $18 million to support custom conservation projects.
A significant part of the energy savings achieved by PSE customers is due to the more than 9.5 million compact fluorescent light bulbs in use that have been distributed by the utility since 2002, saving the equivalent of powering 35,000 homes for a year.
PSE’s home weatherization program also saw unexpectedly high participation levels in 2008, and resulting savings were 75 percent more than the year’s goal. Insulation rebates, the main component of the program, are currently one of the highest dollar-value incentives
PSE offers to residential customers – as much as $1,600. Participation in the program during 2008 was up 44 percent over 2007, with customers receiving $1.9 million in rebate benefits.
For business customers, custom Conservation Grant programs, in which a PSE energy management engineer helps the business owner develop an individualized savings plan, showed the highest savings in 2008. Projects that included variable speed motor drives, heating, air-conditioning and ventilation equipment upgrades, and industrial process modifications appealed to business managers who prefer to evaluate and choose for themselves which investments are most cost-effective for their particular operations.
During the past five years, PSE customers have increased their electricity savings by 77 percent and their natural gas savings by 64 percent. The utility expects to see similar savings in 2009 as PSE continues to develop new and innovative programs to help western Washington residents and businesses use less energy.
To learn more, visit PSE.com or call a PSE Energy Advisor at 1-800-562-1482.