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Xcel Proposes Commercial Energy Efficiency Program

Xcel Energy has filed its proposed Conservation Improvement Program, a three-year plan that includes an energy efficiency program targeted to commercial customers.

The commercial efficiency program would provide resources to help businesses identify practices, technical projects and behavior changes across the organization. Back-end rebate bonuses will help drive deeper energy savings and encourage efficiency throughout a system, Xcel said in its filing.

The proposed CIP places a greater emphasis on efficiency and includes 56 energy-saving electricity and natural gas initiatives for business and residential customers. The CIP includes programs directed at commercial customers to improve efficiency in cooling, computers, food service equipment and data centers.

It also includes a phase-out of the utility’s Solar Rewards incentive after 2013. The utility, which launched the solar incentives program in 2010, wants to shift its CIP plan to focus on energy efficiency, said Judy Poferl, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co., an Xcel company.

Xcel has proposed spending $260 million from 2013 through 2015 to meet Minnesota’s objective for 1.5 percent savings of retail energy use. Total savings from the plan represents enough energy to power 155,000 homes for one year, Xcel said.

Pending approval by the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Division of Energy Resources, the utility will begin to implement and expand the program.

Xcel’s efforts to reduce emissions and improve efficiency has helped it earn a high ranking in Target Rock Advisors’ main sustainability index, which focuses exclusively on investor-owned utilities in the US. Sempra, Xcel Energy, PG&E, Edison International and Avista had the highest sustainability rankings in the recently released quarterly update of the index.

Two utilities that serve West Virginia also are offering programs to businesses to encourage the installation of more energy efficient equipment, reported West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Potomac Edison and Mon Power, both part of First Energy Corp., are offering a cash incentive to businesses that install more energy efficient lighting.

SAIC manages the energy efficiency programs for First Energy. Under the program, Potomac Edison and Mon Power will rebate five cents per kilowatt hour to businesses that install more efficient lighting fixtures.

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