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Energy efficiency programs pay back nearly $4 for every $1

Morgue File

The Michigan Public Service Commission says there was a nearly four-fold return on utilities' energy efficiency programs in 2013.

State natural gas and electricity providers spent $253 million on programs to weatherize homes and replace inefficient water heaters, HVAC systems, and boilers with efficient models.

The MPSC report says that will save customers $948 million over the life cycle of the replacements and upgrades.

Electric utilities are required to spend 1% of retail sales on energy efficiency programs, and natural gas providers, .75%. 

The report says providers met a combined average of 132% of their electric energy savings targets and 121% of their natural gas energy savings targets last year.

The energy efficiency targets are part of the state's renewable energy law, which requires utilities to use renewable sources of energy for 10% of the state's electricity requirements by 2015.

It's clear that utilities will meet the target.  The law expires in 2015 and state lawmakers are working on drafting a replacement.

Recent actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may require dramatic changes to state energy policy. 

The EPA plans to require a 30% drop in carbon emissions by states by 2030, and it is also proposing to reduce the allowable level of ozone from the current 75 parts per billion to 65 or 70 parts per billion.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.