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Posted on Mar. 7, 2008
By Nancy Southworth
Associated Electric Cooperative

March 7, 2008 | Electric Co-ops Debut New Energy Efficiency Programs

Looking to slow rising electricity demand among rural electric cooperative members, Associated Electric Cooperative (AECI) is kicking off a new energy efficiency program "Take Control & Save." About 150 representatives from the 57 cooperatives AECI serves attended the program rollout March 7 at the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield.

AECI's new program follows more than a year of research and analysis by the cooperative to find economic ways to slow the rapidly growing electricity needs of the 57 regional and local electric cooperative systems that receive wholesale power generated by AECI.

Springfield-based AECI, the wholesale power supplier for Missouri's rural electric cooperatives, continues seeing significant growth in the electricity needs of its member cooperatives. At about 2 percent per year, the growth equates to 100 megawatts annually, enough power to serve about 30,000 additional homes each year.

To help meet this growth, AECI has undertaken a number of initiatives in addition to offering new efficiency programs, including adding new natural-gas-based generation and becoming the first and only utility in the state to have Missouri-based wind energy on its system.

AECI and its members made Missouri's first wind farms possible by signing long-term contracts to purchase all the electricity produced and providing strategic transmission access to get the electricity from the generator to cooperative membersí homes and businesses. The three wind farms in northwest Missouri will meet about 1 percent of cooperative members' projected energy requirements in 2008.

New programs to build on existing efficiency programs

The new efficiency programs being offered by AECI include educational resources, services and rebates for various activities and upgrades that cannot only save on residential and commercial electricity consumption but also save home and business owners on electricity costs. Main program offerings include residential and commercial energy audits to improve building energy performance; incentives for switching to highly efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs); rebates for Energy Star appliances and heating and cooling equipment; and pilot projects to identify best practices.

Many of the electric cooperatives AECI serves already offer incentives to encourage more efficient electricity use. Because electric cooperatives are established to provide at-cost electric service to their members, efficient production and use of electricity play a vital role in ensuring cooperative members get the most value for their money. AECI's "Take Control & Save" program will build upon the work of these local electric cooperatives that have long been energy efficiency leaders.

Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. is owned by and provides wholesale power to six regional and 51 local electric cooperative systems in Missouri, southeast Iowa and northeast Oklahoma that serve more than 850,000 customers. AECI's mission is to provide an economical and reliable power supply and support services to its members. AECI is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

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