This blog was written by Natalie Mims and Jeannie McKinney.
A little bit of congratulating is in order for one of the Southeast’s largest investor-owned electric utilities. As we’ve said time and again, the Southeast is often touted as one of the most neglectful regions in the U.S. for energy efficiency. Last October, Natalie Mims, one of our Energy Policy Managers, shared with you a report that showed things might be changing: in the 2011 scorecard on energy efficiency 5 of the 7 states in our area moved up in the rankings. Published by the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE), the scorecard ranks states by 6 efficiency policy categories, including utility and public benefits programs and policies.
Although in September we posted about our doubt that they would achieve their goals, today, we’re pleased to share with you some exciting news. On February 15th, Georgia Power Company (GPC) released their year-end energy efficiency results, and they met their energy efficiency target for 2011!
A savings of 130 gigawatt hours (GWh) – enough energy to power nearly 10,000 homes – is not only a respectable achievement, but it is also 26 GWh above the 104 GWh target set for 2011. They achieved this by:
– Giving out 130,000 lightbulbs through the Lighting & Appliance Program,
– Capturing 82 GWh savings through commercial custom and prescriptive incentive programs,
– Installing over 500 water heater jackets as part of their Residential Water Heater Program,
– And saving over 7 GWh by removing more than 6,000 refrigerators and freezers with the Refrigerator Recycling Program.
Just by committing $ 14. 8 million this year in a combination of residential and commercial programs, GPC was able to support customer efforts to reduce energy waste by about 0.15% of total system sales.
This savings is wonderful news, but utilities in the Southeast still have a long way to go to grow their energy efficiency programs and policies. GPC’s reduction is certainly a significant achievement; however, as we’ve said time and again, the “Top Ten” states for energy efficiency in the U.S. are already committed to reducing theirs by over 15% by 2020. Last year’s success is commendable, but it should just be the beginning for GPC.
By reaching their annual target, Georgia Power has demonstrated how simply a utility can meet the needs of their customers just by committing to energy efficiency. Now that we have seen what only a 0.15% energy reduction can achieve, perhaps Georgia Power and other peer utilities will realize just how much growth potential there is left for the Southeast to take advantage. We hope that Georgia Power will continue to show its commitment to energy efficiency, and reach for even greater savings goals in the future.