Energy efficiency isn’t a new concept at Public Utilities of Wayne, Nebraska. The city started a voluntary load management program for residential customers in 1992. Load-management devices on 900 air-conditioning units in the city now reduce demand by 900 kW. In 1993, Wayne converted its streetlights from mercury vapor fixtures to more efficient high-pressure sodium fixtures (HPS), a project that’s resulted in a long-term cost savings of 40%.
Today Wayne controls demand and energy costs through an impressive variety of programs, many funded by its primary wholesale power provider, Nebraska Public Power District. In the first three quarters of 2009, in fact, the city used $77,286 in available funds from NPPD’s EnergyWise programs—more than any of the other 51 communities served by NPPD.
EnergyWise paid for the more than 6,500 complimentary CFLS Wayne distributed between January and October of 2009. The city handed out the energy-saving bulbs to customers who paid bills in person, as well as at community events like Wayne’s 125th birthday celebration and back-to-school events at Wayne State College. The college is the utility’s largest customer, accounting for about one-quarter of its total load. Through NPPD’s commercial and industrial lighting efficiency program, the city worked with college officials to retrofit 2,500 fixtures on campus with energy-efficient lighting.
NPPD estimates that Wayne’s EnergyWise efforts have reduced its customers’ energy usage by more than 9 million kWh over the life of the improvements. At a total cost of $77,286, including about $12,900 in EnergyWise funding for marketing and administration, this means Wayne and NPPD spent less than 1 cent per saved kWh.
“CFLs and these other energy-efficiency programs reduce customer bills and in turn reduce our revenue somewhat,” concludes Gene Hansen, Wayne’s electric production superintendent. “But with everything else going on right now, we’re gaining more than we’re losing. Conserving energy is good for all of us.”