Posts Tagged ‘Efficient energy use’

Governor Perry has signed into law several pieces of energy efficiency legislation.  These include:

  • SB 1125 – changes how we measure our progress on energy efficiency from a percentage of growth in energy consumption to a percentage of peak energy usage.  Allows for greater demand side management (DSM) by allowing loads to participate in the daily balancing energy market. It also creates new efficiency programs and standardized forms and reporting for progress.
  • SB 898 – requires a 50% reduction in energy consumption (5% per year for 10 years) by all political subdivisions, schools, and state agencies.
  • SB 924 – requires municipal utilities and large co-ops to report their energy saving programs and results
  • HB 2077 – allows certain nonprofit organizations and churches to have access to the LoanStar revolving loan program to install energy efficiency measures and renewable energy.
  • HB 1728 – allows schools to enter into more flexible energy saving performance contracts

Public Citizen worked on all of these during the regular session, along with Businesses for an Energy Efficient Texas coalition (BEET).  These new laws will  help Texas be more competitive, create jobs, save taxpayer dollars and provide environmental benefits that improve air quality and reduce fresh water consumption. They will also help schools reduce their energy costs, making more money available for the classrooms.

Senator Carona, when asked about energy efficiency this past Legislative Session said, “Capturing more energy and associated economic savings for Texas taxpayers and businesses is a priority – especially with the challenges Texas and Texans face with the economy today.”

The Texas legislature should be applauded for their leadership in improving the state’s laws to help Texans be more energy efficient.

Read Full Post »

If you have been thinking about a new appliance, this weekend is a good time to get one, just remember to look for the energy star label and you will save dollars now and for the life of the unit. Something new for you that will help preserve our scarce resources and some cash at the same time.
Here is the announcement from the state on the offer

REMINDER: Save on Appliances This Weekend During the ENERGY STAR® Sales Tax Holiday – May 28-30, 2011 (more…)

Read Full Post »

The following contribution on a new Angelou Economics report showing positive economic impact to the state since 2009. is from Tod Wickersham of Businesses for an Energy Efficient Texas coalition (BEET).

Texas’ energy efficiency programs have saved the state’s residents, schools and businesses money on their electric bills for years. However, a new study by noted economist Angelos Angelou quantifies the employment and economic impact benefits of energy efficiency programs to the state of Texas. While utilities and their customers each have their own way to value economic impacts of energy efficiency investments, this study offers a different perspective, finding that between 2009 and 2011, energy efficiency programs in Texas created or retained nearly 12,000 jobs and generated an overall economic impact of $1.5 billion statewide.

When the Texas electric market was deregulated in 1999, the Texas Legislature recognized that energy efficiency provided Texans a valuable tool to lower the cost of energy and established energy efficiency programs administered by investor-owned utilities (IOUs). These successful programs were expanded in 2007 by the Texas Legislature and further expanded by the Public Utility Commission in 2010. Angelou’s study also recognizes additional economic, job creation and energy savings benefits that would result if these energy efficiency programs were further increased.

The nine IOUs in Texas currently are working to meet these state requirements through programs that offer financial and/or technical assistance to help customers be more energy efficient. As a result of these efforts, electricity demand in Texas was reduced by 240 megawatts in 2009 alone – enough energy to power 46,000 homes. Furthermore, in 2009 these programs provided nearly $55 million in annual savings for residents, businesses, schools and other utility users and reduced smog-producing emissions such as nitrogen oxide by more than 413 tons per year.

Angelou stated that while these Texas energy efficiency program findings are significant, there remains the potential for an even greater economic impact. His report states that  36 states are currently contributing a larger percentage of their capital to energy efficiency programs, resulting in increased energy savings and greater economic benefits.  Texas’s current energy efficiency investments per capita are one-third of the national average, and less than programs in Iowa, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Missouri and Mississippi.

Currently, the Texas Legislature is considering two bills, SB 1125 (Carona) and HB 1629 (Anchia), that would continue these successful energy efficiency programs. These bills are supported by many stakeholders, including businesses, environmental groups, and utility companies.

In the face of tough economic times, Texas’ energy efficiency programs provide a positive economic impact to the state, including saving Texans money, improving businesses’ competitiveness and creating jobs. This study provides additional evidence that continuing the state’s energy efficiency efforts is valuable to Texas.

 To see the report click here


About Businesses for an Energy Efficient Texas coalition (BEET): BEET is a coalition of businesses seeking to improve Texas’ competitiveness, save Texans money, and create more Texas jobs through the implementation of energy efficiency projects and programs. BEET is also focused on educating Texas leaders about how energy efficiency programs, products and services benefit the state. For more information about BEET, visit www.BEETcoalition.org.

Read Full Post »

Need a new refrigerator, washing machine, dish washer, water heater, air conditioner or heat pump? The the state has a deal for you.

Texas has started another round of its energy efficient appliance rebate program. As we covered in a previous blog post this is a big, sweet deal of a rebate for new energy star appliances. But because of the problems with the way the last program was run, this time it’s a mail-in rebate.

Not only will you save dollars on a new appliance, you will save money for the life of the appliance because it will use less energy and water than the old one. They even give you some extra cash if you recycle the old one so it doesn’t end up in a landfill or wasting energy in somebody’s garage somewhere.

A benefit of the federal stimulus package direct to your wallet just in time for Christmas shopping.  Because, you know– there’s nothing you want in your stocking more than a new HVAC system or fridge, right?  RIGHT?  : )

Here are the details from the State Comptroller’s office on how the program works:

Texas Appliance Mail-In Rebate Program opens today! Monday, Dec. 20, 2010

Starting today, Monday, Dec. 20, 2010, Texans can purchase appliances and participate in the Texas Appliance Mail-In Rebate Program. The new $18.5 million Texas Appliance Mail-in Rebate Program is a traditional mail-in rebate program, and Texas consumers do not reserve funding for an appliance rebate. Now accepting applications! Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are distributed.

Helpful Information
Please check the Eligible Appliances, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Recycling Details and the printable resources listed below for key program information.

1.    Official Application Form for Texas Appliance Mail-In Rebate Program (PDF, 116KB)

Texans can also pick up a form at Comptroller field offices around the state. If necessary, consumers can call an automated toll-free customer information line at (855) 556-1312 to have a form mailed to their home. An application form is not required at the time of purchase, but is needed at the time of installation for disposal/recycling information.

2.     How to Apply Flyer (PDF, 187KB)

3.     Eligible Appliances Chart (PDF, 271KB)

They have added an additional 8.5 million dollars to the pool of funds left over from those that reserved funds but did not spend them, but it will be first come first served until the funds are gone.


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

Read Full Post »

For the last few months people who wanted to install solar systems in the Oncore service area have been disappointed as they have been told that the incentive funds are all reserved.

It turns out there is another pool of funds available that has been harder to find. The Oncore website lists all the solar incentive funds as being reserved, but that refers to a batch a funds that was made available as part of the Oncore sale settlement of a few years ago.

There is another source of funds that have not been drawn down and are not easily found on the website, the incentive amount per installed watt is smaller than the settlement fund, but cash of any amount helps the balance sheet and gets that sweet solar solution installed on your roof.

For commercial projects in the Oncore service area give John Hanel a call at 214-486-5886

For residential projects in the Oncore service area the person to contact is Carl Brown 214-486-3244

Read Full Post »

We use more electricity now than ever, and since 2007 our energy usage in Texas is outpacing population growth.  How many of us charge our cell phones or laptops all night so they’re ready for use in the morning?  Or perhaps run the AC 24 hours a day during the blazing Texas summers?   Several years ago the Legislature passed a bill to bring down our consumption, but there’s still much to be done.  On one hand, legislation can continue to push down the maximum levels of energy consumption, thereby compelling energy companies to utilize more efficient forms of energy.  On the other, consumers and business owners can decide to individually pursue energy efficient technology, such as light bulbs, solar panels, and more efficient appliances.

Both suppliers and consumers must pursue energy efficiency to push it into the mainstream.  It’s the simple market equation of supply and demand—but who is going to push first?  Will energy companies supply more efficient forms of energy, or will consumers demand it until it really catches on?

While trolling the halls of Legislature during the last session and passing around information on efficient energy, I was pulled into a conversation between two gentlemen in one of the offices.  We discussed a slew of topics, including the Austin rodent problem of Fall 2008, the general usefulness of cats, and (prompted by my flier) light bulbs.   One gentleman was insistent that LEDs do not provide near the quality of incandescent bulbs, and therefore refused to use them in his home.  I was not exactly sure how to respond to that (I’m no bulb expert) but in my research I found the video posted below.


So why aren’t these alien light bulbs everywhere?  Some are too expensive for the average consumer, but I had no idea that so many varieties exist.   Since they save so much on energy usage, why aren’t they more popular? (more…)

Read Full Post »

Seal of Travis County, Texas

Image via Wikipedia

Austin Energy hired a consultant to help determine how its rates compare to those of other utilities in preparation for its plan to substantially raise electricity rates in 2012.   The work is ongoing, but an eye-opening statistic has already emerged.  Estimates indicate that the average US household’s energy costs are equal to 7% of household income, but the study shows that on average, the poorest 5 percent of Travis County households spend about 45% of their incomes on electricity.

That is a staggering statistic and points out the need to provide more energy efficiency funding for low-income families.  The short and long term benefits are economic relief and cost-effective home improvements. While assistance relieves pressure on individual households, the benefits also ripple into the community. With less money spent on energy, more money is available for other goods and services. If this money is spent locally, Austin captures this revenue, with further benefits rippling out from there.

Keep in mind, most low-income households are renters.  There should be incentives put in place to encourage landlords to increase the energy efficiency of their properties.  And don’t forget, there are environmental benefits to reducing our energy usage.  This seems like a win win for our city.

Read Full Post »