US utilities: Kentucky Power’s DSM programs, DTE Energy wins in court


Kentucky Power's energy efficiency programsIn the US, utility Kentucky Power has secured regulatory approval for a raft of demand side management and energy efficiency programs.

Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) earlier this month approved the continuation of 10 programs for residential and commercial customers as well as the addition of two new initiatives designed to improve energy management, report local media.

The PSC said the utility’s demand-side management (DSM) programs, which are funded through a surcharge on customers’ bills, had demonstrated that they were providing long-term savings to ratepayers.

Energy efficiency incentives

Kentucky Power’s two new DSM programs include compensating customers for working but surplus refrigerators and freezers with rebates paid between US$40 and US$55 for the units, which a contractor will process to recycle the metals; as well as a program to help residential customers monitor energy use and educate them about ways to reduce consumption.

The utility’s DSM portfolio already includes a program to encourage the use of high-efficiency electric products in homes, which will be expanded from lighting and ceiling fans to a broad range of appliances; energy audit, energy efficiency and weatherization programs specifically tailored to the needs of low-income customers.

Kentucky Power, which has a customer base of 173,000, also offers incentives to commercial customers to use energy efficient heat pumps and air conditioners, which is being extended for another year.

Under the PSC ruling, the utility must file a study to show the benefits of energy efficiency programs for its industrial customers.

Manual meter reading fee

Meanwhile, in Detroit, utility DTE Energy has won the right to charge customers who reject a smart meter following a ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The court says state regulators did nothing illegal or unreasonable in approving an opt-out program for smart meters, which charges customers US$10 a month to manually read their electricity meter.