It’s hard to believe that three years have passed since we launched our energy efficiency programs in July 2009. What’s even more amazing is that our customers have saved an estimated $67 million in the last two years through our energy efficiency programs. Over the life of these installed efficiency measures, we estimate our customers will save $2.5 billion.
Almost half of the estimated savings are from our business customers. More than 21,000 business customers have participated in at least one of our energy efficiency programs. That means Michigan businesses have reduced operating costs through energy savings by an estimated $32 million since the programs were launched.
Our energy optimization programs include incentives for the purchase of highly efficient equipment and appliances; home energy audits; and an information campaign to help our customers understand and choose the benefits of energy efficiency. Incentives are provided for customer purchases of highly efficient heating and cooling systems, water heaters, appliances, lighting, windows and insulation, and other energy efficiency measures.
Implementation contractors who operate energy efficiency programs for Consumers Energy have added at least 86 full-time employees as a result of this initiative. Consumers Energy works with 1,700 trade allies and 30 Community Action Agencies which have created jobs because of these programs.
The energy optimization program was started in response to Michigan’s 2008 energy reform law. That law requires Consumers Energy and other utilities to work with customers to reduce electric use by 5.5 percent and natural gas use by 3.85 percent by 2015.