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TID stretches energy efficiency with rebate programs

POSTED April 30, 2013 11:40 p.m.

Last year, the Turlock Irrigation District had little success attaining greater levels of energy efficiency through its rebate programs. The district fell short of its proposed goal — to attain 12 gigawatt hours in savings — due to a lack of customer participation.

This year, TID isn’t backing down, and is generating or upgrading new programs that are intended to meet the district's new energy efficiency goals of 9,285 megawatt hours.

“We’ve outreached to our commercial and industrial customers who we knew had past audits,” said Nancy Folly, TID customer service department manager. “The response that we received from those customers were: A) They didn’t choose to implement this project; or B) They didn’t have the budget to do so. However, so far this year, we’ve had a few of our large customers contact us with a few projects that they want to implement this year.”

In order to meet its new goal, the TID has set up "top three programs" for residential rebates. These include rebates for buying Energy Star refrigerators, recycling refrigerators, planting shade trees, and using compact florescent light bulbs.

“We’ve actually seen an increase in our recyclable program,” said TID Utility Analyst-Energy Resources Monique Hampton. “If you do choose to recycle your old refrigerator, you will earn $35. Really, it is a two-fold profit.”

Although the district promoted a shade tree event on March 16 for $20 apiece, complete with compost and fertilizer, it was unable to sell 232 out of the 300 different varieties. Out of the 168 trees the district did sell, TID saved 59 megawatt hours of energy.

“Although we were unable to sell 300 trees as we anticipated, we have decided to create a shade tree voucher system. The concept is still the same. All eligible customers are able to come to any TID office and pay their $20. During the week of June 18 to 22, the Turlock Greenery will have actual trees, compost and fertilizer,” said Hampton. “We are anticipating 76 megawatt hours for the remaining trees.”

For non-residential customers, TID has anticipated 8,756 megawatt hours in savings, the bulk of which will come from new construction rebates. These construction rebates are for new buildings that exceed Title 24 building standards. The energy efficiency goals are implemented in the buildings standards, saving .05 cents per kilowatts for exceeding energy goals.

For low-income customers, the district is also offering weatherization, or weatherproofing benefits to protect a building from natural elements. Customers do not have to own the home to be eligible.

The district is also focusing its attention on commercial audits for small or medium customers. TID has selected approximately 800 customers for vendors to target based on criteria.

“We have a vendor that is actually doing a direct install of CFLs in LED open signs to our small and medium customers, and at the same time, they are performing energy audits on site and collecting data,” said Hampton. “We plan on utilizing this information to better understand our customers and promote energy efficiency opportunities for the future. If this program is successful, we plan on expanding our efforts.”

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