St. C. talks efficient energy

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Members of the utility committee met with representatives from American Municipal Power and Efficiency Smart, the energy efficiency company that performs efficiency services for AMP.

The goal of the company is to take machinery of a business or household to make them more efficient.

“What we try to do is provide technical expertise and financial incentives,” said Randy Corbin, AMP assistant vice president of energy policy and sustainability. “The expertise not only helps you make the right choice in what you’re buying, but the financial incentives lowers the price.”

He added that energy efficient equipment can be more expensive than less efficient equipment, but the financial incentives lower the price.

He added that they often work with businesses that use very small margins, where shaving a small percentage off of an electric rate results in considerable savings, as does lowering operating costs.

Kristyn Wilder, executive director for Efficiency Smart, added that they can work with companies in the design phase. Services include photometric studies to determine the best lighting necessary for particular areas.

Corbin added that they are technology and vendor neutral and promotes products based on efficiency.

“This project, you see every day in the community. Everybody knows somebody in their community who’s done a project, who works for a company who’s done a project who’s gotten benefits in their own corner from this project,” he said.

Wilder noted the five major services, including custom, business energy rebates, contractor and vendor outreach, community and small business outreach, and residential. Benefits of these include training and access to technologies. While their customs program serves large commercial and industrial customers that use 500 MHh of energy annually, they also offer technical services to small and medium-sized businesses.

A program manager is also available to answer technical questions. They encourage energy efficiency projects by developing sustainable partnerships across the supply chain.

Wilder added that they also reach out to the community and small businesses with education for targeted populations from students to landlords. At the residential level they address such issues as lighting, incentives for all-electric homes, and all-inclusive home energy audits for $25.

She noted contract costs have been lowered, with $1.40/MWh to the original $1.50/MWh.

Corbin noted that the 49 participating communities had a guarantee of savings for three years, with the difference refunded if 70 percent of the savings target is not achieved.

“That’s unheard of. No other program in the country does that,” he said. “We’ll guarantee results.”

While the original aim of the benefit/cost ratio was two-to-one, the results were three-to-one.

“It’s a tremendous value I believe to the communities,” he said.

He added that the program is self-sufficient with no added burden on the utility department.

The three-year plan for St. Clairsville would cost $210,038 with lifetime economic benefits of $444,728. Benefit to cost ratio would be $2.12, with a cost of $1.40 per MWh of annual retail sales, and a levelized cost per MWh saved coming to $26.62.

Total annual customer savings from energy costs reduction comes to $25,737, with total annual lifetime customer energy savings from energy costs reductions at $253,888, and total lifetime savings from a three-year contract term at $761,663.

The lifetime period assumed is about 10.5 years based on the commercial and residential aspects of the community.

The city could also see some savings in transmission costs. In addition, the program works with housing grants and community housing authorities.

DeFrank can be reached at