Sunday, July 14, 2024

Energy efficiency incentives prove popular with customers

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Wenatchee - Growing interest in Chelan PUD’s energy rebate program prompted a commission vote to increase funding by about $3 million on Monday, August 7. Chelan PUD offers customers cash back on energy-efficient improvements to their home or business, including windows, insulation, lighting, or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Since 2010, customers have saved nearly 25 megawatts of energy, enough to power 12,500 homes.

The benefits to customers are many: More comfort, lower electricity bills, and in some cases, increased value of their home or business. The rebate program also supports jobs and the local economy. For every $1 Chelan PUD pays in energy efficiency rebates, it earns about $1.70 back by selling hydropower on the wholesale energy market. Revenues from energy sales allow customers to pay some of the lowest rates in the nation – 3.4 cents per kilowatt hour, which is about half of the cost to produce and deliver electricity.

“This is the single most visible win-win as a utility that we do for customers on an ongoing basis,” Board President Randy Smith said.

In 2022, interest waned in energy efficient upgrades due to inflation and supply chain issues. At the same time, the value of hydropower increased on the energy market. In response, Chelan PUD offered higher rebate incentives.

In 2023, participation in the rebate program by residential customers nearly doubled. The cities of Cashmere and Wenatchee approached Chelan PUD with opportunities to fund large-scale energy efficiency upgrades at two wastewater treatment plants.

“Our customers are their constituents, and if they can lower their overhead costs, they can spend those tax dollars somewhere else,” said Andrew Grassell, energy development and conservation manager.

With the $3 million budget increase, the rebate program budget is now about $7.67 million. For more information about the energy efficiency rebate program, visit chelanpud.org/save.

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