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Maryland Adopts Plan For Energy Efficiency

Steven Mufson and Lisa Rein, Washington Post
In a bid to cut energy use, Maryland yesterday became just the fourth state in the nation to approve a plan that removes the incentive for electric utilities to sell more power in order to make more money.

In a rate case ruling issued yesterday, the Maryland Public Service Commission endorsed an approach known as decoupling, which ensures that utilities do not lose revenue if customers use less electricity.

“The fact that Maryland has undertaken this step is clear evidence that states are going to be ramping up their own programs to take energy efficiency to new levels,” said Jim Owen, a spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute, a utility industry association.

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), facing criticism over steep rate hikes for 1.1 million Baltimore Gas and Electric customers, has set a goal of reducing Maryland’s energy demand by 15 percent by 2015. Cutting electricity use will help the state cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

California is the only state where decoupling has been in effect for years, and energy experts say that it is one reason why the state uses less electricity per person than any other state. Earlier this year, Idaho and New York approved decoupling measures.
(21 July 2007)
Contributor Greg writes:
Maryland is one of a few states that has solar grants for installing wind, PV and thermal solar.

Households to test ‘smart’ electricity meters

Thousands of households across the country are to test state of the art ‘smart meters’ as part of an initiative to cut household energy bills.

Around 15,000 households will receive the meters which will tell people about their energy use – and how much it costs – through linked display units or through TVs and computer screens. A further 8,000 more homes will receive clip on real time display units for their existing meters. These will tell them how much energy they are using, and how much it is costing when individual appliances are turned on.

Contracts have been signed with EDF Energy, E.ON UK, Scottish and Southern Energy, and Scottish Power to conduct the £20 million trials, which will be jointly funded by the power companies and the government. The trials will be conducted throughout the country and will look at the responses from a range of customers, including those in fuel poverty. Smart meters are expected to be rolled out to most households within the next ten years, and all but the smallest businesses in the next five years. ..
(13 July 2007)
The Daily Mail suggests UK consumers participating in the trial will face a 400 pound bill for the meters. Meanwhile customers of British Columbia Hydro will
apparently get smart meters free, and by 2010

Govt distributes free energy saving bulbs

Fred Tettey Alari-Amoako & Claire Maguire, The Statesman (Ghana)
The Energy Commission officially began the distribution of over six million energy saving light bulbs as part of a national campaign to conserve energy throughout the country yesterday.

The exercise, when fully implemented nation-wide, is expected to save between 200 and 240 megawatts of energy, according to experts. This, they say, is a bold attempt by the Government to tackle the energy crisis.

The national exercise began in Suhum in the Eastern Region, as it was thought this was a good sized community to test the bulbs and means the process could be completed within a week.

It is aimed to replace incandescent bulbs with the imported energy saving ones as part of Government’s efforts to reduce energy consumption and to save consumers from paying high electricity bills.

A K Ofosu Ahenkorah, Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission noted that the lamps are to be distributed freely to the public and emphasised that they are strictly not for re-sale. ..
(11 July 2007)