Monday, March 8, 2010

Consumers Energy swamped with appliance rebate applicants; jerkwater Bubbas seethe

Consumers Energy figured it would get 2,000 applications for appliance rebates as part of its energy efficiency program. It received 12,000.

The rebates are part of the efficiency standards mandated by a 2008 Michigan law. That law requires utilities to help customers use less electricity. That’s counterintuitive for an industry whose success has traditionally depended on selling as much energy as possible.

As a result of the program’s success Consumers may be entitled to a $5.7 million reward.

That rankles the jerkwater Bubbas commenting underneath the Jackson Citizen Patriot’s story: They seem to think the efficiency program is a socialist/liberal plot hatched with Consumers Energy to rob ratepayers.

But I would prefer to pay Consumers Energy a bonus for helping customers use less electricity. The alternative is paying them even more to build new coal plants or wind farms to produce more electricity. That’s electricity we do not need if efficiency programs keep doing their jobs.

Numerous and little-disputed studies show that saving energy through efficiency costs about one-third the amount that the energy would cost if it were supplied through new baseload power plants.

Those high rates are what we’ll get if we can’t set up a system where utility companies and their shareholders profit from helping reduce demand for their product.

As for the Bubbas, I have a solution to cut your energy costs to zero: Get off the grid and let the grown ups talk among themselves.


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