Energy efficiency programs pay dividends

Collaboration with communities is saving customers money on monthly utility bills, reducing long-term need for energy resources

FORT COLLINS, Colo., March 29, 2018 – Platte River Power Authority’s collaborative work on energy efficiency programs with the distribution utilities of its owner communities continues to gain traction according to a recent study.

Homeowners and businesses in Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland who participated in one or more Efficiency Works programs between 2014 and 2016 built a total of 55,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of annual energy savings by the end of the study period, according to a review recently concluded by Research into Action. By the end of 2016, new energy savings were enough to cover the annual power consumption by approximately 6,500 of the region’s typical households.

“We’re pleased with the results of this study because it confirms our intent to help our customers use energy more wisely,” said Jason Frisbie, general manager and CEO of Platte River Power Authority. “Energy efficiency, demand response and distributed energy resources are part of our overall portfolio diversification strategy and we help save customers’ money when using the programs. It’s good for Platte River, the customers and our environment.”

Platte River began offering energy efficiency programs and services in 2002. In 2014, Platte River and its owner communities joined forces under the shared Efficiency Works brand to gain greater efficiencies within common offerings while enabling cities to also offer programs unique to their respective needs. Since 2002, Platte River’s energy efficiency programs have reduced the need for approximately 196,000 MWh of annual energy production.

Both Fort Collins Utilities and Platte River had planned to conduct an independent evaluation of the Efficiency Works programs and decided to combine efforts to more cost-effectively assess programs across all four cities served by Platte River. The evaluators reviewed both commercial and residential energy efficiency program offerings for Fort Collins and all four of Platte Rivers’ owner communities combined. The evaluation focused on verifying program outcomes – energy savings in relation to investments in efficiency – and on identifying opportunities for improving programs. The study found that investments in energy efficiency by Platte River, utilities and customers were more than outweighed by the long-term benefit of reducing investments in electric generation.

The study also offered recommendations to improve energy efficiency programs, many of which have been implemented or are under review for implementation. Suggestions include ways to improve program documentation, streamlining program participation processes, and increasing outreach to customers and local contractors.

“Our owner communities and the customers they serve deserve the best value for every dollar we invest so we are pleased to learn of ways to continually improve our programs and processes,” said Frisbie.

The study was conducted by Research into Action. A copy of the report can be found here.

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Efficiency Works is a collaboration of common efficiency programs between the utilities of Estes Park Light & Power, Fort Collins Utilities, Longmont Power & Communications, Loveland Water and Power, and Platte River Power Authority. Each utility designates funding to help support the Efficiency Works program and its goals. Funding provided by each utility is only used in that utility’s community, ensuring ratepayers are only helping to fund programs in their own communities.

Platte River Power Authority is a not-for-profit wholesale electricity generation and transmission provider that delivers safe, reliable, environmentally responsible and competitively priced energy and services to its owner communities of Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland, Colorado, for delivery to their utility customers.