Increasing energy efficiency in the Southwest

November 20, 2012

A Colorado-based public interest group says six Southwestern states, including Arizona, could save a total of $20 billion by 2020 by becoming more energy efficient.

From Phoenix, KJZZ’s Steve Goldstein reports.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, or SWEEP, has outlined ways for households and businesses in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming to save the $20 billion. The group says Arizona’s savings would reach more than $7 billion by 2020 if electric utilities would, among other things, significantly increase their energy efficiency funding and promote cost-effective measures like energy-efficient lighting and air conditioning. Howard Geller, SWEEP’s Executive Director, says the financial benefit for utilities can’t be left out.

HOWARD GELLER: Rebates and technical assistance and educational programs are treated just like investments in power plants or transmission lines where the utilities are able to earn a profit. And at the same time, they’re not losing money when they reduce sales of electricity.

GOLDSTEIN: Geller says Arizona is already the most efficient of the six Southwest states SWEEP covers, largely because of the Corporation Commission’s 2010 unanimous decision to require utilities to give tools and incentives to customers for reducing energy usage.

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