Topeka, KA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — February 26, 2008 – The deployment of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and energy efficiency initiatives has been put forward by Kansas utility Westar Energy, as part of a comprehensive energy plan to meet growing customer needs in the rapidly changing financial, environmental and political climates.
Commenting that many energy efficiency technologies can be deployed faster and at lower cost than supply side options, Westar says it views energy efficiency as a high priority energy resource and that its approach with these programs and technologies is to provide sufficient incentives – whether they are economical, practical or simply intriguing – to stimulate a change in behavior that is essential to a real reduction in the growth of electricity usage.
While customers endorse energy efficiency and express a desire for it, there is little evidence that they have curbed their ever increasing consumption of energy, says Westar. Thus the challenge is not so much one of technology, but rather how to match technology with a broader public acceptance of the need for a change in behavior.
Westar established an energy efficiency department in July 2007, with responsibility for consumer education, implementation of load control and demand side management programs and development of alliances with heating, ventilation and air conditioning dealers, builders, architects, and others to encourage use of high efficiency equipment and building practices.
Initiatives that have been introduced include direct load control thermostats for residential customers and load control peak shaving to commercial and industrial customers, a real time pricing pilot, and an interruptible program. AMI will enable the broad deployment of real time pricing strategies and extensive DSM programs in addition to the many other business applications and benefits it brings, including the foundation for the smart grid.
Other strategies in Westar’s energy plan, entitled “Meeting Our Customers’ Energy Needs: A Strategic Plan for Uncertain Times,” include the development of more transmission and renewable energy sources and substantial investments to improve the environmental performance of the existing coal generation plants.
Announcing the strategy, Bill Moore, Westar president and CEO, said: “We offer our plan as an invitation to engage in a constructive discussion with policy makers and interested customers on the challenges we face together. It is intended to be an open, transparent disclosure of how we see our future.”
Westar Energy is the largest electric utility in Kansas, providing electric service to about 675,000 customers in the state.