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Nevada Power’s cool plan to save electricity

October 28, 2005

Nevada Power’s cool plan to save electricity

Amid the threat of higher rates — and corresponding customer outcry — driven by soaring costs for natural gas used to fuel electric power plants, Nevada Power Co. of Las Vegas continues to examine efforts to reduce its load.

Earlier this month, the utility asked the state Public Utilities Commission to consider a conservation project built around partnerships with many large residential builders. The goal is to encourage the use of high-efficiency air-conditioning units.

If approved by state regulators, Nevada Power would pay 50 percent of the cost of installing units with a 13 SEER rating on homes, up from the standard 10 SEER. The bigger units are 30 percent more efficient and could save consumers as much as $200 a year in utility bills.

Among the builders involved are Pulte/Del Webb, KB Home, American West, William Lyon Homes, Toll Brothers Inc. and 20 other major builders.

The new air-conditioner project is one of several efforts included in the PUC filing. The utility also is seeking to expand its promotion of Energy Star appliances, its refrigerator recycling program and its Sure Bet incentives for conservation among commercial customers.

I think this is a great idea. More utility companies should create programs like this one to help conserve energy.

Most utility companies already offer some type of energy conservation plan. You should check with your local utility company to see if they offer any type of plan and possibly rebates.

Our local utility company is offering rebates for compact fluorescent light bulbs. They are offering $2.00 back for every one you purchase. These bulbs last considerably longer and use a lot less energy. My wife could not understand why I bought so many and replaced every bulb in our house with compact fluorescent, until she saw this month’s power bill. Replacing all of our regular incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent resulted in a 3% savings for a partial month. I installed these around 9/18.

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