JACKSON (WWJ) — Customers who participate in Consumers Energy’s energy efficiency programs are receiving significant long-term savings and benefits, the utility’s measurements show.
“The savings are real. The benefits are broad, measurable and sustainable. And hundreds of Michiganders are working because of energy efficiency programs driven by Michigan’s enlightened energy reform law,” said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy’s vice president of customer experience and operations. “Consumers Energy has made a promise to the people of Michigan to provide low cost energy when they want it. As we plan for the long term, Consumers Energy knows that the lowest cost energy is the energy that we collectively don’t use. By leveraging technology advances and good communication, energy efficiency is an important part of the energy mix for customers of Consumers Energy.”
Participating customers have saved $365 million since the programs were launched in 2009, with savings extending almost 10 years beyond the initial installation date of equipment. Electric program savings could power 142,000 Michigan homes for one year, and natural gas program savings could annually heat about 60,000 homes.
“During a critical time, we’re proud to say that these programs are putting people to work in Michigan,” Poppe said. Consumers Energy estimates that 900 new jobs have been created, primarily through its energy efficiency trade ally network.
Poppe noted that the appliance recycling program is having a positive impact on environmental sustainability and job creation. In four years, more than 67,000 refrigerators and freezers have been recycled, thereby avoiding carbon dioxide emissions equal to the operation of 134,000 cars per year.
“Placed end-to-end, the number of recycled refrigerators and freezers would stretch for 70 miles, from Jackson to St. Johns,” said Poppe. This program employs 54 people, including drivers and warehouse personnel in Grand Rapids and Livonia.
Consumers Energy works with 2,100 energy efficiency trade allies, up from 1,700 two years ago. These trade allies provide customers with information about energy efficiency rebates and equipment. The trade allies have primary businesses in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, windows, insulation, appliances, lighting, builders and as architects.
In 2013, more than 106,000 residential customers and more than 29,000 business customers participated in at least one energy efficiency program. More than 8,000 highly efficient gas furnaces were installed, replacing less efficient furnaces. Over 1.1 million compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) were purchased. More than 400 major Michigan retailers supported the energy efficiency effort by offering CFLs discounted up to half the normal purchase price, made possible by funding from Consumers Energy.
Information on Consumers Energy’s energy efficiency programs is available at: http://www.consumersenergy.com/eeprograms