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Gulf Power launches new energy efficiency program


Gulf Power Company is introducing a comprehensive energy efficiency program aimed at helping customers save money and energy while reducing greenhouse gases.

The program is a conservation initiative called EarthCents — a menu of programs and educational efforts to reduce residential and commercial electricity consumption.

Sandy Sims, manager of Public Affairs said that EarthCents gives customers many reasons to go green and save energy.

“We’re excited to launch EarthCents,” Sims said. “Our customers can save up to 50 percent on their energy bills by participating in several of the programs — that’s significant. And Gulf Power has the opportunity to reduce the demand for energy. This really is a win-win for all.”

EarthCents, which replaces the GoodCents brand, is a combination of new and existing efficiency and conservation programs. It includes a new pilot program that offers customers a $1,000 incentive to install a solar water heating system and incentives for geothermal heating and cooling systems.

Other EarthCents programs include home energy management systems with interactive thermostats and smart meters, free home energy check-ups, energy efficiency programs for homebuilders and a comprehensive public education program on energy conservation.

The new program has been approved by the Florida Public Service Commission.

“We’re thrilled that the Public Service Commission sees the value of EarthCents for our customers,” Sims said. “Gulf Power has long been committed to developing innovative conservation programs.

“EarthCents will encourage customers to learn more about energy efficiency and help them make earth-friendly decisions,” remarked Sims. “Gulf Power programs have already reduced the demand for electricity by 350 megawatts, enough to power 50,000 homes, which in turn lowers CO2 emissions — this program will give customers the opportunity to reduce their impact on the environment even more.”

Gulf Power is also participating in several projects to help provide needed research into new energy technologies. Those projects include:

* The BEST house — a project at the University of West Florida to build a home with the most up to date sustainable “green” design techniques.
* Commercial geothermal projects for several customers, including a hotel and a fast food restaurant.
* A partnership with Lamar Outdoor Advertising to research the effectiveness of solar panels on billboards to offset lighting costs.

Besides reducing greenhouse gases, Gulf Power expects the EarthCents programs will delay the need for building new power plants in the future as Florida continues to grow.

“Our goal is to meet future energy demands and reduce the impact on the environment,” Sims said. “We believe EarthCents gets more customers directly involved in improving the environment through their everyday actions.”


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