BPU Energy Efficiency Programs Saving Customers Money
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities energy efficiency program is now saving more than 10 million kilowatts a year.
The BPU has six energy efficiency rebate programs for residential, commercial and industrial customers, with two new ones starting this year. The programs include the Energy Start rebate; home energy audits and weatherization rebates for residential customers; the residential attic insulation program; lighting and motor rebates for commercial and industrial customers; weatherization for commercial and industrial customers; and a customized incentive program for commercial and industrial customers.
Dan Reynolds, BPU energy efficiency coordinator, said the BPU started their energy-saving programs in 2008 by making their own changes to lower costs. With stimulus funding, BPU officials made lighting and energy efficient changes to three buildings and the Steele Street power plant. Reynolds said the changes have led to the BPU saving $40,000 a year.
“It helped us to lead by example,” Reynolds said.
Through the years, Reynolds said the BPU has done 408 projects with commercial and industrial customers in the BPU electric service area. From assisting nonprofits to municipalities to businesses, Reynolds said $600,000 a year is now being saved through the energy efficiency changes made by BPU commercial and industrial customers. Reynolds said they have helped Artone; Lutheran Social Services; Maplevale Farms; Jamestown Metal Products; Store and Lock; WCA Hospital; and many other customers.
“We’ve done work on most of Allen Street, from Rand Machine to Maplevale,” Reynolds said.
The two new programs for this year are geared to helping commercial and industrial businesses. One is the BPU weatherization rebate and the second is a customized incentive program. Companies would be eligible for up to $10,000 in rebates for the weatherization program and $15,000 for the customized incentive rebate. The incentive for the weatherizing program would be a 50 percent match for most items. For the customized incentive, the rebate would be paid on annual energy savings multiplied by the incentive rate. The incentive rate for 2014 would be 10 cents per kilowatt hour. For example, a reduction of 30,000 kilowatt hours multiplied by the 10-cent incentive would be a rebate of $3,000. The commercial and industrial weatherization program will also offer a rebate to customers who improve the thermal envelope of their buildings. Reynolds said he encourages businesses to approach the BPU about changes they want to make to save energy.
“Nothing is off the table,” he said.
This year there were changes to the BPU’s Energy Star rebate program. The changes included offering rebates for only permanently installed housing fixtures. The rebate program will include new residential windows, skylights, residential entry doors, HVAC heat pumps and central air conditioning units. Items like refrigerators, clothes washers, dishwashers and window air conditioning units have been removed from the program for this year.
For the home energy audit program, Reynolds said households making less than $106,000 a year can qualify to receive a free inspection. He also said for those who do not qualify for a free energy audit, the BPU can help subsidize the cost of the service. He said those who receive a free energy audit are not obligated to make changes to their home.
For the attic insulation program, Reynolds said the BPU rebate program pays for 50 percent of the project, up to $500 a building, and is a great do-it-yourself activity.
“It is a no-brainer project,” he said.
Reynolds said he believes there is good participation in the BPU’s rebate programs. He said he would still like to see more homeowners receive free energy audits and for more small business to participate in the commercial energy efficiency programs.
“There is always room for more,” he said.