- The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has approved approved Phase III energy efficiency and conservation (EE&C) plans submitted by all of the state's major electric utilities, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. The five-year phase begins June 1.
- Regulators say the EE&C programs have promoted the adoption of energy-efficient lighting, appliances and other measures in Pennsylvania.
- The third phase runs through 2021, with new targets for each of the utilities, ranging from 2.6% to 5% reductions.
- Plans for Duquesne Light and the FirstEnergy Companies were approved earlier this month, while PPL and PECO Energy received signoff last week.
Pennsylvania utilities are about to begin the third phase of the state's push to reduce energy consumption, a plan set out in 2008 legislation that called for cost-effective efficiency and conservation to help reduce electric price volatility.
"Our focus is to educate the customers on what's there, so they can make better informed decisions about their use,” said spokesman Aaron Ruegg for FirstEnergy, which is the parent company for participating utilities West Penn and Penn Power.
The EE&C plans will push more efficiency lighting and appliances, discounted energy audits and school outreach programs. State regulators approved a budget of $23.6 million for West Penn and $6.7 million for Penn Power.
Duquesne Light is looking at a unique program that would educate high school students on how energy audits work – in an effort to get them to find ways to reduce usage.
Duquesne manager of customer programs Dave Defide told the news outlet that "It's something we haven't tried before, using high school kids as a conduit. ... The hope is that these kids can also go out and do basic-level audits in small businesses.”
Defide said in that way, it is also a jobs program. “We want to see the region grow, and we know that takes energy use.” The utility's EE&C budget is $19.5 million.