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Potomac Edison says demand for energy kits has been high

November 20, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com
  • Potomac Edison energy-conservation kits include six compact fluorescent light bulbs, a smart strip/surge protector, a low-flow shower head and four faucet aerators to control water flow.
Submitted photo

Potomac Edison expects to distribute more energy-saving light bulbs to its Maryland customers than it projected as part of a statewide conservation program.

Each energy-conservation kit contains six compact fluorescent light bulbs — four equivalent to 60 watts and two equivalent to 100 watts. CFL bulbs use less energy and last longer.

The kit also has a smart strip/surge protector, a low-flow shower head and four faucet aerators to control water flow, Potomac Edison spokesman Todd Meyers said.

Potomac Edison, which has about 250,000 customers in Maryland, is sending the conservation kits to those who request them.

It’s one of several Watt Watchers programs the utility has under the state’s EmPOWER Maryland initiative to cut energy consumption 15 percent by 2015.

The state directed its other utilities — BGE, Delmarva Power, Pepco and SMECO — to have conservation programs, too.

A surcharge added to customers’ bill funds the program. Savings from the programs are expected to offset the surcharge.

The surcharge for Potomac Edison customers in Maryland was 46 cents a month until June 1, when it dropped to 10 cents a month, Meyers said.

As part of an agreement when FirstEnergy acquired Allegheny Energy, FirstEnergy allocated an extra $750,000 for EmPOWER Maryland programs, he said.

Meyers said the total budget for those programs from 2009 to 2011 was about $10.7 million. As of May, First Energy has spent about $1.9 million.

According to Potomac Edison’s website, other Watt Watchers programs include:

• Rebates for purchasing efficient appliances and energy equipment

• Rebates for recycling working air conditioners, refrigerators and freezers

• Audits of insulation, duct work, water heating, cooling and heating systems, and air leakage

• Energy-efficiency packages, home checkups and weatherization services for low-income households

In September, when the Maryland Public Service Commission approved Potomac Edison’s Opt-In Energy Efficiency Kit program, the utility projected it would distribute up to 30,000 kits by the end of 2011.

A Nov. 8 letter from Potomac Edison’s senior corporate counsel to the PSC says the program probably will exceed projections.

As of Nov. 6 — four days after the company started mailing inserted notices about the program in bills — customers had requested 23,940 kits, the letter says.

The letter says the company now expects to get 35,000 to 45,000 requests.

Potomac Edison told the PSC that it could meet the higher demand, “or even more, without exceeding the total program budget previously approved by the commission.”

The cost of providing 30,000 kits was about $1.6 million, Meyers said.

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To receive a kit
Potomac Edison customers in Maryland can get an Energy Conservation Kit by calling 1-888-257-2474 or going to www.myconservationkit.com. Shipments will be suspended temporarily Dec. 9, then resume after the holiday season.

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