Pennsylvania law tries to cut electricity usage

Pennsylvania has begun a major effort to cut electricity use, requiring the state's 11 utilities to not only stop power usage from rising, but to cut it starting in 2011.

Legislation that Gov. Ed Rendell signed Wednesday requires the utilities to cut annual electricity usage by at least 1 percent by May 31, 2011, based on usage estimates made by state regulators, who can take into account a major anomaly, such as an unusually hot summer or a substantial surge in demand from a new user, such as a factory.

To ensure that utilities take the task seriously, the new law allows up to $20 million in penalties for failure to meet the benchmarks for electricity usage cuts.

"That certainly should get the companies to look at what's been going on around the country and adopt some of the more successful programs," said Sonny Popowsky, the state's utility consumer advocate and a supporter of the new law.

Utilities will have to find ways to get people and businesses to use less electricity on the hottest summer days, when electricity is the most expensive. That could include enrolling the owners of homes and office buildings in a program to temporarily switch off hot water heaters or air conditioners.

To cut electricity usage at all other times, utilities will have to get more fluorescent lamps into light sockets to replace less efficient incandescent bulbs.

They will have to figure out how to entice people to insulate their homes to save electric heat and replace old, energy-sucking refrigerators and other appliances with newer, more efficient models.

Electricity usage in the Pennsylvania and the United States grows at a rate of about 1 percent to 2 percent annually.

By May 31, 2013, utilities have to cut usage by at least 3 percent, as well as slash 4.5 percent from electricity usage during the 100 highest-use hours of the year.

Utilities said they are still in the early stages of developing proposals for how they will approach the mandate and did not want to speak about their specific plans.

They acknowledge that the law will force them to adopt new usage-reduction tactics beyond a raft of education programs they have, including Web sites that dissect each residential customer's electric usage and how to reduce it.

"It's a big number. It's going to take some changes in terms of what we do and what we've done in the past, but it's not an insurmountable number," said Scott Surgeoner, a spokesman for FirstEnergy Corp., the Ohio-based power company that owns Pennsylvania Electric Co., Pennsylvania Power Co. and Metropolitan Edison Co.

By July 1, each utility must file a plan with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to achieve the cuts. The commission must hold a public hearing on each plan and has about four months to approve or reject them.

The electricity conservation efforts will be expensive, and utilities can bill rate payers for that cost, up to 2 percent of their revenue from 2006. Utilities must be able to show that savings from the plans will pay their own cost - at least - within 15 years.


zoilaNdon said...


zoilaNdon said...

This absurd anti-growth policy of Ed Rendell's plus the latest scandal about the Use Tax compliance program make PA one of the most business-unfriendly states in the nation. The User Tax initiative suddenly forces small businesses to cough up 6% sales tax on all out-of-state sales, including many services, of the last 3 years. They were just now notified and have until only January 15. Ed Rendell is telling us "let them eat sandwiches for Christmas. Bwahahahaha!" What does this guy have against business? Against Christmas? Against growth? And yet, he hasn't enforced a ban on illegal immigration into PA, so how does he expect new immigrants to survive in the winter with no power for long periods of time?

Anonymous said...

So, they want us to eventually get rid of our older appliances that supposedly use too much electricity and replace them with newer more efficient ones..... and just where are we to get the money to pay for these replacements? maybe the government will send us another check so we can all get new refridgerators, stoves, washers, dryers, coffee makers, toaster ovens, hair curlers, and more efficient central air systems.

Maybe the snack makers will have to cut back on the manufacture of potato chips, corn curls and candy bars, etc. .... Hmmm that may not be a bad idea. After all, Americans are becoming too fat anyhow so this would kill two birds with one stone. We'd cut electric use and people would get thinner ... how great is that?? [I'm being facetious of course].

Maybe the government will buy us all hand fans to use in place of our air conditioners. And forget about electric cars because they will need places to plug them in to recharge the batteries.

As for washers and dryers, well, we could go back to beating them clean on a rock by the local streams and then just hanging them from tree limbs to dry.

And who needs hot water from an electric water heater when you can wash your dishes in cold water or better still, just use paper plates and plastic forks and spoons. Cut back on taking a hot shower or bath to just once a week. Yeah, we could go back the the old saturday night bath time... and while you're at it, have your whole family use the same bath water like they did in the 40's and 50's. Put two or three kids in the tub together. Come to think of it, with the sexual revolution and permissiveness being what it is, whole families could just all shower together, or we could have community baths. Hey! save water too, shower with a friend. We have car pools, why not shower pools?

And who would need electricity for light if we all went back to whale oil lamps. And instead of watching televison, we'd just all go to bed when it gets dark. This would be another benefit because we wouldn't have to listen to all the twisted lies from the news media.

Everyone, turn off your Christmas lights!

Rendell, you are an idiot !!! The loonies are running the assylum!