New Energy Efficiency Programs Coming for Electric Customers

Seven municipal electric utilities put federal stimulus dollars to work

ORLANDO, Fla., April 7, 2011 – Electric customers in seven Florida cities will soon have access to new energy efficiency programs funded by federal stimulus dollars.

The cities of Bartow, Clewiston, Green Cove Springs, Mount Dora, Newberry, St. Cloud and Starke worked together through the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) and Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) to access more than $2.2 million in federal grant funds and jointly create programs to enhance the efficiency of utility systems, increase use of clean solar power and help customers save electricity and money.

“The members of FMEA and FMPA are working together to maximize the impact of these federal dollars on their local communities and utility customers,” said FMPA General Manager and CEO Nicholas Guarriello.

Programs to conserve electricity, advance renewable technology

The cities are jointly developing four programs:

  • System Efficiency: The cities of Newberry and Starke are planning efficiency studies of their utilities’ distribution systems. The goal is to reduce losses and save money in the delivery of electricity to customers’ homes and businesses.
  • Energy Audits: The cities of Clewiston, Green Cove Springs, Mount Dora, and Starke are developing an energy audit program for commercial and industrial customers. The energy auditors will review customers’ operations and develop recommendations to help reduce businesses’ energy consumption.
  • Energy-Efficient Outdoor Lighting: The cities of Bartow, Clewiston, Green Cove Springs, Mount Dora and Newberry will retrofit municipal outdoor lighting to modern high-efficiency fixtures to reduce energy use and maintenance costs and encourage commercial and industrial customers to consider similar lighting retrofits.
  • Solar Projects: The cities of Green Cove Springs, Mount Dora, Newberry, St. Cloud and Starke are developing solar demonstration projects, ranging in capacity from five kilowatts to 58 kilowatts. The solar generators will serve municipal facilities and provide an educational component to inform the local community about solar power.
  • Climate Change Action Plan: The cities of Bartow, Green Cove Springs, Mount Dora, Newberry and Starke are developing comprehensive energy efficiency and conservation strategies to create a long-term action plan for addressing global climate change.

Together these projects will enhance the efficiency of these community-owned electric utilities, educate consumers about conservation and renewable power and provide jobs to qualified Florida vendors.

Cities collaborate to bring federal grants to their communities

The cities’ collaboration began in 2009 when a competitive grant process was announced. The program, known as the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more commonly known as the “stimulus bill.” The state of Florida received more than $30 million to fund energy efficiency and conservation programs at the state and local levels.

Members of FMPA and FMEA worked together to develop grant applications, which were submitted in February 2010, and the cities were selected to receive funding in April 2010. The cities decided to carry their collaboration to the next level by jointly developing the efficiency and conservation programs that the grant will fund.

“These cities are working together to leverage federal funds that will save energy and help lower costs for their customers,” said FMEA Executive Director Barry Moline.

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Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) is a wholesale power company owned by 30 municipal electric utilities. FMPA provides economies of scale in power generation and related services to support community-owned electric utilities. The members of FMPA serve approximately two million Floridians.

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