Focus expands customer reach, cuts more energy use



The first full year under new management for the Focus on Energy program delivered more energy savings as well as an expanded reach, a new report says.

Focus, in existence since 2001, provides energy efficiency incentives such as rebates for energy efficient light bulbs and other offerings.

The program is funded by surcharges on utility electricity bills.

In 2012, a consultant hired to evaluate the program concluded that the savings in energy use by the program exceeded the program’s cost by 2.89 to 1.

The program is run by CB&I, a national firm that was chosen in 2011 by a consortium of state utilities to manage Focus on Energy.

The report found that the energy savings from the program amounted to run the program totaled 650 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is equivalent to the power used in 92,000 typical homes in a year.

The report also found Focus provided services for either energy efficiency or renewable energy to about 1 million homes and businesses last year, an increase from prior years.

“More Wisconsinites are participating in and benefiting from Focus on Energy’s portfolio of programs," said William Haas, the program’s director, in a statement. "We specifically designed a variety of programs to provide more opportunities for utility ratepayers to save energy at home and at work."

All customers have paid for Focus, but they are also seeing the benefit, said Keith Reopelle, senior policy director at the conservation group Clean Wisconsin.

Over the 12 years since the program was launched, it’s generated enough savings in energy use to prevent the construction of two medium-sized around-the-clock power plants, he said. That means the state didn't have to invest even more heavily in new electricity generation than it did over the past decade.

“The PSC has asked Focus to try to squeeze as much savings out of every ratepayer dollar that they can, and they’ve been very responsive to that direction from the PSC,” Reopelle said. “These are really good results.”

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