National awards for local energy efficiency programs

he Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) announced today a national environmental award for San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) and its parent Enova Corporation. This is the first time in the environmental group's 25-year history it has recognized a private-sector utility for contributions to the public interest.
SDG&E received the award for its long-term commitment to energy efficiency programs, which have saved its customers more than 782 million kilowatt-hours of electricity over the past ten years - enough to power 140,000 homes for a year.
"SDG&E has been a leader in a campaign to secure a better energy future for its customers and community," said Ralph Cavanagh, co-director of NRDC's Energy Program. "Today, the company's energy-efficiency strategies are among the best anywhere at delivering increased productivity, lower operating costs and improved environmental quality."
SDG&E's energy efficiency programs give customers incentives for using energy-efficient and environmentally-effective measures, including weatherization, new efficient lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. The energy savings reduce long-term operating costs for businesses and improve the environment through reduced emissions.
"The energy-efficiency programs installed by our customers since 1977 have saved them more than $500 million in energy costs each year, and kept more than 5 million tons of pollutants out of the atmosphere," said Donald Felsinger SDG&E president and chief executive officer. "These energy-efficient partnerships are a win-win solution for the community, the economy and the environment."
According to Cavanagh, utilities are in a unique position to encourage customer energy-efficiency, which results in significant environmental savings.
Manager of SDG&E's energy efficiency programs Greg Haddow is enthusiastic about customer participation. "Energy efficiency works when our customers understand our programs. Our job is to promote that understanding. Energy efficiency happens when we partner with our customers."

The programs

The following programs are currently available.

Residential Customers

Customers can receive cash incentives or rebates for replacing lighting with energy efficient lamps and fixtures. Rebate coupons may be found along with qualifying items at most home improvement, discount, and some grocery and drug stores.

Weatherization and energy surveys
SDG&E provided these services to more than 30,000 residents in 1995. Their most popular offer is the "Mail-in Home Energy Profile." This survey, divided into four categories: energy, water, transportation and recycling, will show how your household is currently using resources. After completing the survey and returning in the provided postage-paid envelope, you will receive a free compact fluorescent light bulb, and a summary of your survey results and savings recommendations. Tables and charts will show how your household uses energy and how much various appliances cost to operate. They will also estimate your annual savings if you adopt energy and water-efficient changes. Call the number below to request your survey.
Energy efficient appliances
Rebates ranging from $25 to $250 are available upon request from most appliance dealers on high-efficiency refrigerators, freezers and washers. Refrigerator rebates are also available to take older models out-of-service.
Also available upon request is a brochure: "100 ways to save energy and how much are your appliances using?"

Commercial Customers

SDG&E offers discounts on high-efficiency motors involved in a wide range of commercial and industrial operations.

New construction
SDG&E can help customers design energy-efficient commercial or industrial construction projects.
Heating, ventilating and air conditioning
Customers can replace rooftop air conditioners with more efficient models, and rebates are available for electric and combination gas/electric units.
Customers interested in participating in energy efficiency programs please call SDG&E's 24-hour customer service line: 1-800-411-SDGE (7343).
If you're interested in attending a presentation on SDG&E's conservation programs, see the 2/14 Community Calendar entry for Zero Population Growth under Organizational meetings.