Energy Efficiency Programs Help Save Oregon Utility Customers $326 Million in 2014

Aug. 11, 2015
The Energy Trust of Oregon’s energy efficiency programs and renewable energy programs–funded by a public purpose charge–helped save Oregon customers $6.8 million in 2014 through projects at more than 17,000 locations. Two-thirds of the savings came from measures installed by commercial and industrial customers.

Energy Efficiency Programs Help Save Customers on Energy Bills in Oregon

The Energy Trust of Oregon’s energy efficiency programs and renewable energy programs–funded by a public purpose charge–helped save Oregon customers $326 million in 2014. By year-end, program participation grew 22 percent over 2013, climbing to more than 84,000 locations served.

Two-thirds of the savings came from measures installed by commercial and industrial customers, said Susan Jowaiszas, senior marketing manager for the Energy Trust of Oregon’s Commercial and Industrial program in this podcast.

The largest savings came from lighting upgrades, she said. “Typically 35 percent is used by lighting; it’s a rich source of savings.” Seventy percent of the projects involved the installation of LEDs, she said. That’s an increase of about 400 percent over 2011.

The declining cost of LEDs contributed to the increase, she noted. “Since 2008, they’ve declined by 30 percent in cost and manufacturers have increased their light output.”

“A large share of the savings were at restaurants and food service and production,” she noted.

Custom projects produced the largest share of savings from the industrial customers, she said.

“Customers’ energy-saving and renewable power projects put money back into their pockets and also grew Oregon’s clean energy economy by $247 million.” said a press release from Energy Trust.

Energy Trust achieved all of the Oregon Public Utility Commission’s annual minimum performance measures, including keeping program and administrative costs low, at 4.6 percent of annual revenues, said the press release. Since 2002, Energy Trust has helped save customers $1.9 billion.

In 2014, the Energy Trust invested $154 million to serve residential, commercial and industrial customers at more than 84,000 sites, according to the organization’s annual report. The measures saved more than 508 million kWh of electricity and nearly 5.7 annual therms of natural gas.

Last year was one of the Energy Trust’s highest-savings years on record, “despite dynamic market conditions, continued low natural gas prices and shifting state and federal tax credits. While continuing to keep administrative costs low, we provided tailored program offerings to achieve savings and generate energy from a mix of renewable resources. We increased targeted outreach efforts to reach and serve a broader set of customers, and focused on bringing new strategies and technologies to market to achieve long-lasting savings,” said the annual report.

About the Author

Lisa Cohn | Contributing Editor

I focus on the West Coast and Midwest. Email me at [email protected]

I’ve been writing about energy for more than 20 years, and my stories have appeared in EnergyBiz, SNL Financial, Mother Earth News, Natural Home Magazine, Horizon Air Magazine, Oregon Business, Open Spaces, the Portland Tribune, The Oregonian, Renewable Energy World, Windpower Monthly and other publications. I’m also a former stringer for the Platts/McGraw-Hill energy publications. I began my career covering energy and environment for The Cape Cod Times, where Elisa Wood also was a reporter. I’ve received numerous writing awards from national, regional and local organizations, including Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Willamette Writers, Associated Oregon Industries, and the Voice of Youth Advocates. I first became interested in energy as a student at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, where I helped design and build a solar house.

Twitter: @LisaECohn

Linkedin: LisaEllenCohn

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