CPS Energy, customers partner to reduce energy demand

Congratulations, San Antonio!

Residential and commercial energy efficiency and demand response programs reduced the community’s demand for energy by 160 megawatts in 2013. That means less pollution and more money saving, as power plants need to run less to meet energy demand.

The largest savings – almost 128 MW – was achieved through CPS Energy’s demand response initiatives. Commercial programs accounted for 67 MW, while 61 MW was realized through residential programs like CPS Energy Savers Smart Thermostat and the Home Manager energy management system.

Through these programs, participants receive rebate incentives for voluntarily helping CPS Energy manage community energy use on high or “peak” demand days. During this season, June 1 through Sept. 30, conservation events are called on hot summer days to reduce expected peak demand.

More than 340 meters are part of CPS Energy’s commercial and industrial demand response program, in which hotels, retail chains, office buildings, data centers and schools voluntarily reduce energy use after receiving a notice to conserve.

Almost 100,000 customers currently use Home Manager and Smart Thermostat to manage home energy bills. To build on the success of its demand response programs, CPS Energy introduced three new programs for residential customers this year, offering more options for central AC systems as well as window AC units: the Nest® Learning Thermostat; the Friedrich Kühl Window AC; and the Cool Energy smart AC Kit. All of these programs offer customers control of their home energy use through convenient, wireless technology.

Commercial customers also saved nearly 17 MW of energy through the installation and use of high-efficiency lighting products, improved heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and other energy-efficiency improvements. As many as 629 businesses were granted rebates – 500 were first-time participants in a rebate program.

Residential customers continue to look to energy efficiency as a way to lower their energy bill. This movement resulted in an energy reduction of 15.6 MW in 2013. More than 4.8 MW of that total was achieved through home efficiency and HVAC measures such as air conditioner replacements, the sealing of duct work, and attic insulation. Almost 16,800 residential rebates were granted. More than 15,500 were first-time participants.

The Casa Verde weatherization assistance program, which helped 3,202 low-income families improve the energy efficiency of their homes in 2013, accounted for more than one third of the 15.6 MW of savings.

Through the Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan (STEP), CPS Energy is looking to reduce energy needs by 771 MW – the equivalent generation of a power plant – by 2020. Since the inception of STEP in 2009, 345 MW of energy savings has been achieved toward this goal. STEP is funded through a portion of the fuel adjustment charge on customers’ monthly bills. The 2013 cost of the program was $64 million, or 4 cents per kilowatt hour saved.

“Our community continues to be a great partner in our plan to reduce local energy demand,” says Cris Eugster, executive vice president and chief generation and strategy officer at CPS Energy. “Everyone wins when you save energy. Customers lower their bill, energy becomes even more reliable, and together, we improve our environment.”

Energy conservation also is part of CPS Energy’s plan to diversify and reduce the carbon intensity of its generation fleet. In 2013, residential and commercial energy efficiency programs – by reducing generation – also reduced carbon emissions by more than 53,000 tons.

Annually, Nexant, Inc. conducts a comprehensive, independent measurement and verification evaluation of all of CPS Energy’s demand management programs. This report is reviewed and confirmed by the City of San Antonio.

Scott Wudel

Scott was part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.

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