Strong interest in our energy efficiency incentive program for electric business customers has caused us to reach our 2011 energy savings goal. Even though the program for this year is maxed out, we will still take applications to the program for this year on a waitlist basis. Commercial and industrial natural gas business customers still may apply for 2011 incentives from our Business Solutions Program for the installation energy-efficient equipment.
Since the electric incentive program began in July 2009, more than 5,000 commercial and industrial customers have saved nearly 350 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, reducing their electric bills by an estimated $24 million a year. The energy saved is enough to power 43,700 homes and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 315 tons each year.
A key piece of those savings is our business account managers who collaborate with customers to find incentives that will help them invest in new energy-efficient equipment that provides long-term value. Fred Alatalo, who oversees our business energy efficiency program, also points out that local businesses often supply and install this equipment. “This program also helps local businesses and strengthens local economies,” he said.
In 2010, more than 205,000 of our business and residential customers took part in our energy efficiency programs, saving an estimated $38 million on their gas and electric bill. Over the lifetime of those energy efficiency measures, we project our customers will realize a total savings of $428 million.
Our current energy efficiency programs were born out of the state’s 2008 energy law. That law calls for Consumers Energy and other utilities to work with their customers to help them reduce their use of electricity by 5.5 percent and their use of natural gas by 3.85 percent by 2015.