2017-07-13 / News

Bright idea

Swartz Creek area on cutting edge for cutting energy usage
BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

SWARTZ CREEK – Consumers Energy has selected Swartz Creek and parts of surrounding townships for a pilot program aimed at reducing energy consumption and saving money.

In an effort to lighten the load on the local substation, the power company is offering incentives for customers who use less energy in their homes and businesses.

Through the “Energy Savers Club,” residents and business owners can win prizes and whittle down their utility bills, said Therese Vainner, energy ambassador.

As an added benefit, Consumers Energy has pledged to donate funds to a community project, and it will ask customers to vote on which project will receive the grant, Vainner said.

The 48473 Zip code was selected for the pilot program because the population represents a good cross section of countywide demographics, said Kevin Duffy, program manager.

“We definitely wanted a typical (community),” he said. “We wanted a good case study so we could establish best practices. We want to establish a model for doing it elsewhere.”

Duffy said the power company hopes to reduce energy consumption by 1.3 megawatts – roughly the amount used to power more than 800 homes – by next summer.

If the reductions are sufficient, Consumers Energy will avoid costly upgrades that its Swartz Creek substation will need to accommodate the ever-increasing demand.

Reductions also will help the company meet its goals under the Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act of 2016, bipartisan legislation that established long-term goals for power suppliers.

According to the state office of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the law calls for a 1 percent per year savings for electrical usage and 0.75 percent per year for gas.

Participation in the Energy Saving Club is voluntary and does not involve big lifestyle changes.

“We want you to use what you need, but if you achieve what you need with less, everyone wins,” said Kyle McCree, community affairs area manager.

Residents may participate through a website that is as yet still under construction but soon will be accessible through the Consumers Energy home page at www.consumersenergy.com.

The site will have information on how customers can reduce energy use, as well as details about rewards for participating in the program.

Additional details will be released as they become available.

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