A little over a year ago, ConservAmerica suggested a novel concept to the Arizona Corporations Commission (ACC), the elected body which governs public utilities in that state.
Our proposal encouraged utility companies to directly invest in energy efficiency measures in financially disadvantaged schools by allowing the companies to capitalize those investments. Any utility bill savings were required to be reinvested directly into classrooms by the schools. The ACC and Arizona Public Service (APS), the state’s largest utility company, agreed to a pilot program called the School Energy Efficiency Program.
The results of the program are in, and they are spectacular!
APS invested $2.18 million in 66 disadvantaged schools. The cost savings to the schools totaled $600,000 for the first year! That translates in $6 million of savings redirected to classrooms over the expected ten year useful life of the efficiency investments. In other words, an investment of $2.18 million turns into $6 million of ‘new’ revenue for the schools!
Another major Arizona utility company attended the briefing on the program results and now plans to follow suit with $500,000 in annual investments to help cut heating bills for schools.
We are now taking this model, and its results, to other states. The numbers above are just from a small pilot program–can you imagine the impact on public education across our country if the proposal is adopted for unlimited implementation?
The School Energy Efficiency Program is part of our Ground Level Game Change programming. While most NGO’s keep their eyes on Congress or state legislatures, we see state utility commissions as being fundamentally important policy venues for our issues.
Real solutions for the real world.