Utility offers rebates for energy efficiency Potomac Edison plan raises rates

April 20, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Potomac Edison is introducing its first energy-conservation programs that include financial incentives for customers to participate.

But the power company's Maryland customers -- in part of Carroll County and all of Western Maryland -- will have to foot the bill as builders and businesses enjoy most of the incentives.

The programs give rebates for installing energy-efficient lighting and energy-saving devices, said Susan Tuckwell, director of customer relations for Potomac Edison.

"We've been encouraging energy efficiency and energy conservation for a long time," she said. "But this really put some meat into it and enables us to offer a rebate to people."

Potomac Edison filed plans for the programs and the proposed surcharge to fund them with the Maryland Public Service Commission on Thursday, said PSC spokesman Frank Fulton Jr. A hearing will be scheduled in about a week, he said.

If it is passed, customers will see the new surcharge on their bills beginning July 1, Mr. Fulton said.

An average Potomac Edison customer, who uses about 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month, will see an increase of 24 cents, Ms. Tuckwell said.

The residential program will offer rebates for new homes with energy-efficient designs and for installing items such as energy-efficient heat pumps, and floor and foundation insulation, Ms. Tuckwell said.

Potomac Edison will pay as much as $1,800 for an efficient town house, as much as $2,500 for a one-story house and as much as $3,200 for a two-story dwelling, she said. The houses do not need to use electric heat.

But most of the new home rebate is given to the builder, she said. Homeowners can apply for up to $100 of the money directly.

"Hopefully, the builder will pass the incentive on to the homeowner by taking off some of the expense of installing these energy-efficient items," Ms. Tuckwell said.

The industrial program concentrates on lighting, giving customers an unspecified rebate for measures such as installing fluorescent lights with electronic valves or high-pressure sodium lights.

Ms. Tuckwell said the rebates must be based on audits of individual companies.

"The rebate should more than make up for the capital costs of in stalling the equipment," she said.

Arthur J. Slusark, spokesman for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., said his company has offered both those programs to customers for the past three years.

In addition, BG&E offers residential customers a rebate of as much as $950 for installing energy-efficient heat pumps or air conditioners and reduced rates for using electricity during low usage times, usually at night.

Mr. Slusark said BG&E's surcharge, implemented July 1, 1992, and to be reviewed each July, was 15 cents a month for the average customer, who uses 600 kilowatt-hours a month.

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