Tag Archives: energy efficiency

AR Public Service Commission Issues Energy Efficiency Orders

untitledThe Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) issued ten orders last Friday to promote energy efficiency efforts of Arkansas utilities and to explore advancing technology affecting electric and natural gas utilities.

The ten orders follow more than two years of PSC inquiries in four separate dockets that involved public comments and hearings, sworn testimony, legal briefs, technical conferences, and public presentations by national leaders. Parties of these dockets include: all regulated electric and natural gas public utilities in Arkansas, the Arkansas Attorney General, the PSC’s General Staff, major industrial customers, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Sam’s Club, Kroger Co., Audubon Arkansas, and the Arkansas Community Action Agencies Association. Together, the parties submitted over 250 sets of comments, testimony, and legals pleadings in these proceedings.

One of the 10 orders sets performance targets for energy efficiency programs in Arkansas. The targets are the first statewide energy performance targets established in a Southeastern state. Over the next three years, electric utilities must reduce total annual kilowatt-hour sales, starting with a 0.25 percent reduction in the first year, reaching 0.75 percent in the third year. Goals are slightly less for natural-gas firms.

To prevent utilities from losing money because of lower sales, the commission will enable the companies and customers to “split the benefit” of reduced use. Customers save money by using less energy, and utilities would be able to raise prices to recover some expenses related to infrastructure.

In addition to setting performance targets, the PSC also opened three new dockets to explore emerging technologies. One docket attempts to gain a better understanding of the use of smart grid technology including the deployment of smart meters. A second docket will examine various policies regarding the use of utilities distribution systems for fueling electric and natural-gas vehicles. The third and final docket will explore efforts that utilities may undertake internally to improve the efficiency of their systems.

The PSC released a Sustainable Energy Resources (SER) Action Guide to accompany the ten orders. To read the Guide, click here.

The PSC’s orders are a significant step forward for making Arkansas more energy efficient. More energy efficient the state, less power plants we would have to build. Hopefully, the orders will spur other southeastern states to follow Arkansas’s suit and promote increased energy efficiency efforts by their utilities.


Tuesday To-Do: Presentation on Eco-Logical Communities at Nightbird Books

Wanna know why I love Fayetteville? Fayetteville is so determined to reduce its energy and water uses that it has created a community-wide initiative to encourage energy efficiency and water conservation.

Called the Eco-Logical Communities, the initiative currently boosts 650 households in Fayetteville and over 1,000 households in northwest Arkansas.

Don’t know about Eco-Logical Communities? Come to the presentation tonight at 7 p.m. at NightBird Books (205 Dickson Street) in Fayetteville. Topics covered will include:

  • Utility company programs to help homeowners make energy efficiency upgrades
  • Coupons, rebates and tax incentives for energy efficiency
  • Eco-Logical Communities and Fayetteville ’s environmental dashboard
  • Earth Aid and setting up personal dashboards to track energy and water conservation at home

The event is sponsored by the University of Arkansas Applied Sustainability Center and the Ozark Headwaters Group of the Sierra Club.

All are invited to attend! Help grow the Eco-Logical Communities in Fayetteville!

For more information, contact Michele Halsell at mhalsell@walton.uark.edu.

Sustainable Business Network of Central AR to Host Lunch & Learn

Sustainable Business Network of Central Arkansas will host a workshop titled Increasing Restaurant Profits with Energy Efficiency and Utility Rebates, Tuesday, November 9 between 12-1 p.m. at the Arkansas Studies Institute in downtown Little Rock.

Lance Orton of CenterPoint Energy will discuss low-cost to no-cost guides to reducing energy and CenterPoint Energy’s commercial food service rebate program.

RSVP to info@sbnca.org and bring your own brown bag lunch.

For more information, contact info@sbnca.org.

Pulaski Technical College Weatherization Center to Host Grand Opening Tomorrow

The Pulaski Technical College Weatherization Training Center will host a grand opening celebration Friday, October 29 at 10 a.m. on the main campus in North Little Rock. The event marks the opening of the new training center and also observes National Weatherization Day.

The event will include tours of the new training center, as well as remarks from U.S. Congressman Vic Snyder; North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays; Thomas Green, assistant director of the State Office of Community Services of the Arkansas Department of Human Services; Rose Adams, executive director, Arkansas Community Action Agencies Association; and representatives from Entergy Arkansas, Inc., Centerpoint Entergy and Pulaski Technical College.

Utilizing a $1.2 million U.S. Department of Energy grant, the new Pulaski Technical College Weatherization Training Center will be responsible for providing training for weatherization installers, auditors and technicians as well as weatherization crew chiefs and other “green” jobs relevant to efficient energy usage. The center will provide green job training for local workers in energy efficiency retrofitting and weatherization services, enabling skilled workers to expand the use of energy efficient practices in the state’s homes and businesses.

“The Arkansas Department of Human Services–Weatherization Assistance Program has provided leadership in weatherization work in Arkansas for many years, and they have been an indispensible partner in this endeavor,” said Mary Ann Shope, vice president for economic development at Pulaski Tech. “The new training center will provide our workforce with most up-to-date training available in Arkansas.”

Beginning in 2011, Pulaski Tech will work with other state agencies and colleges to train workers across the state with a mobile weatherization training lab equipped with an array of training modules similar to those at the Pulaski Tech site.

Prior to October 29, 2010, only twelve Weatherization Training Centers existed in the United States. The opening of the WTC at Pulaski Technical College marks the thirteenth Weatherization Training Center, and the first in the United States in a community college.

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant funds to support America’s commitment to a clean energy future, including $5 billion to significantly ramp up the pace of weatherization in the United States. Nationally, the training programs will support a range of public and private energy efficiency efforts, including the Department’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which has already funded the weatherization of nearly 200,000 homes since last February, using both Recovery Act and annual program funds.

About Weatherization Day

Weatherization Day was conceived as a means to focus local, state, and national attention on the program and the work being performed by the workforce that provides weatherization assistance to low income families is known as the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) network.

Capitalizing on the Department of Energy’s declaration of October as Energy Awareness Month, Weatherization Programs across the country endeavor to raise the public’s awareness of the work done every day.

AR Gas Companies Offering Rebates for Energy Efficient Products

Just in time for cold months, Arkansas’ three natural-gas utilities are offering rebates on purchases of energy-efficient products.

Earlier this year, the Arkansas Public Service Commission ordered CenterPoint Energy, Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corp., and Arkansas Western gas to develop energy efficiency incentive programs. The current programs will last until June 2011.

Depending on the level of efficiency, customers of the three utilities are eligible for rebates of $150 to $300 on the purchases of new efficient furnaces or space-heating systems. They can also receive $50 to $250 rebates on efficient water heaters.

Customers can combine utility rebates with those offered by the Arkansas Energy Star Appliance Rebate Program. The state’s program offers a $300 rebate on a new Energy Star water heater.

For more information about the three utilities’ programs, visit their websites.

Weekend To-Do: 10/10/10 Global Work Party in Little Rock

Arkansas Interfaith Power & Light, Sierra Club, and HEAL-AR will weatherize a Little Rock foster home as part of the 10/10/10 Global Work Party, tomorrow, Saturday, October 9 between 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

All are welcome to help with caulking, weatherstripping and adding insulation at the home for girls, age 16 and older, transitioning out of the foster care system.

Lunch, tools, and drinks will be provided! A barbecue celebration will be held on Sunday, October 10.

To help, contact Benn Davenport at benn.davenport@sierraclub.org or (530) 828-2499.

AR Energy Office Reopens Energy Star Appliance Rebate Program

Last week the Arkansas Energy Office (AEO) announced that it has reopened the Energy Star Appliance Rebate program.

Due to its success, the agency secured an additional $2.4 million to fund rebates for energy-efficient appliances.

The program began in March 2010 and closed in August 2010 after it exhausted its original $2.74 million and an additional $1.4 million that it received in July. The program funded more than 17,000 rebates for energy-efficient appliances and is expected to fund additional 10,000 rebates.

The program offers a $275.00 rebate on ENERGY STAR rated refrigerators, $225.00 on ENERGY STAR clothes washers and $300.00 on certain ENERGY STAR water heaters. Eligible ENERGY STAR hot water heaters include gas storage systems that meet the 2010 ENERGY STAR criteria, gas tankless and heat pump systems. Rebates will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds are depleted.

Qualifications for the rebate include (1) applicant must be an Arkansas resident, (2) must purchase a qualifying appliance from a participating vendor, (3) must replace an existing appliance, (4) must install the new appliance at their primary residential address, (5) must obtain documentation that the old appliance was either removed or taken to a recycling center, and (6) within 30 days of purchase, submit (a) a rebate form, (b) proof-of-purchase, and (c) documentation that the replaced appliance was either hauled away by a participating vendor or recycled.

People who purchased qualifying appliances when the program was closed, August 9 through September 23, have until October 29, 2010, to submit rebate forms for those purchases.

The program is part of a $300 million nationwide effort to encourage energy efficiency. The program is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

For more information on the Arkansas ENERGY STAR Appliance Rebate Program and to find rebate forms and participating retailers or vendors, visit the Arkansas Energy Office website at www.arkansasenergy.org or the Arkansas Rebates site at www.AR.State-Rebate.com. Interested customers can also call (877) 883-8510 with any questions.