Oneida Nation Makes Energy Efficiency a Priority

Oneida Nation Makes Energy Efficiency a Priority

Oneida, Wis.
Wisconsin Public Service

Tribe’s Efforts Recognized with Energy Efficiency Excellence Award

Oneida, Wis. – The Oneida Nation’s commitment to energy efficiency and creating a comfortable, safe environment at its school and other buildings has earned the tribe an Energy Efficiency Excellence Award from FOCUS ON ENERGY®.

“It takes quite a few people with like minds to get projects like this done, and I want to congratulate Oneida Nation for doing it continuously,” said Jolene Sheil, Portfolio Manager of Focus on Energy Programs at the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, before presenting the plaque at Oneida Nation’s Business Committee meeting Wednesday morning. “They’re getting this award now, but it’s actually for [work over] a number of years – a lot of the work that they do every single year on various projects.”

Bill Plamann is an Energy Advisor with Focus on Energy who has worked with tribal staff on energy efficiency projects for more than a decade and nominated Oneida Nation for the award.

“Working with Oneida Nation has been seamless and enjoyable because of how they proceed with projects,” Plamann said, adding that the Nation’s projects are always well thought-out.

The tribe completed several projects with Focus on Energy in 2018, including a variable air volume and controls project at Turtle School. Focus on Energy provided a $48,000 financial incentive to help offset the initial cost of the investment in energy-efficient equipment.

The upgrades created a more comfortable space for students and will save Oneida Nation more than $55,000 a year in avoided energy costs.

“Saving energy not only saves the environment, but it also saves money for the Nation, and that money can then be used for other programs and services that have meaningful impacts to our members and our community at large,” Tribal Chairman Tehassi Hill said after he and the other Business Committee members accepted the award.

“[Focus on Energy] … is a tremendous program,” said Sen. Rob Cowles, who came to congratulate the Nation for winning the award. “It’s benefitting the tribe with the savings you’re getting and it’s benefitting … businesses across the state, lowering demand.

Additional efficiency projects Oneida Nation completed last year included a conversion to LED lighting with motion sensors at Turtle School and Norbert Hill Center.

Plamann said Oneida Nation brings in Focus on Energy staff during the early stages of project development to discuss the most energy-efficient equipment and strategies that best fit the budget available, and then determines how Focus on Energy financial incentives can make the project more affordable.

“We do a lot of work to get [to] this point. It’s a continuous thing for us,” said Ray Olson, the Energy Controls Manager for Oneida Nation, who added that more lighting and high-efficiency boiler projects are currently in the works. “We’re always working on saving energy and improving our facilities.”

A recent third-party evaluation noted Focus on Energy runs the most-cost-effective energy efficiency programs in the nation. It also found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy generates more than $5 in benefits for Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced pollution and reduced energy costs.

About Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities' statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program funded by the state's investor-owned energy utilities and participating municipal and electric cooperative utilities. Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus on Energy information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control Wisconsin's growing demand for electricity and natural gas. For more information call 800.762.7077 or visit

A group of people stand inside a community building. The person in the center holds a blue award.

Photo: Focus on Energy’s Bill Plamann joins Senator Rob Cowles and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin’s Jolene Sheil to present a 2019 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award to Oneida Nation leaders and staff at the Nation’s Business Committee meeting this morning in Oneida.

Oneida, Wis.
WPS (Wisconsin Public Service)

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