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Energy Trust 10th Anniversary
This year marks the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO)’s ten year anniversary. Since opening its doors in 2002, the ETO has been helping utility rate payers throughout the state implement progressive energy efficiency measures and expand the use of renewable energy sources. From industrial operations to commercial businesses to homeowners, the ETO offers incentives and technical assistance to help residents make informed, sustainable choices to benefit the state’s energy use.
The ETO has saved ratepayers over $1 billion, according to their 2011 annual report, over the last ten years from its energy efficiency investments. In addition, the ETO’s investments in renewable energy protect consumers and the environment.
Funded by a small fee on customers’ bills, the ETO offers incentives and technical assistance on energy efficiency upgrades to these residents, helping them save energy and thus money. For example, through the ETO, homeowners and businesses can have an energy audit performed to learn how to improve their efficiency and receive financial support for these projects. To encourage participation, the ETO has developed creative ways to engage in cost-effective energy savings over the years, such as the search for the oldest operating fridge in Oregon (this 1937 fridge has been retired and replaced) and inter-city energy saving contests.
Prior to the creation of the ETO, the utilities managed their own energy efficiency programs. However, that created an inherent conflict of interest. CUB found that asking companies to help their customers use less of the product they produce and sell didn’t work very well. CUB pushed hard for the creation of the ETO because we thought it would be better for consumers to have an independent, nonprofit third party running these important programs. We also thought it would be more efficient to have one entity coordinating these programs across utilities rather than having each utility have their separate units.
We think the last decade has proved us right. The ETO is saving energy at a rate that was unheard of when the utilities managed these programs. The organization is customer-focused and is always looking for ways to reduce energy usage even further. In fact, we believe the ETO has a place among Oregon’s progressive history alongside the initiative system, the Bottle Bill and the Beach Bill.
The ETO is an integral actor in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors here in Oregon and the Northwest. Even more than that, it’s a national model because few other states are as effective as Oregon is in making the investments that the ETO spearheads. Its innovative programs set the stage for and now support the progressive standards for increasing clean energy resources in our state.
If you are a customer of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural, or Cascade Natural Gas, you may have already taken advantage of the incentives and information services from the ETO. If you haven’t, the ETO has a lot to offer and can help you start saving on your energy costs right away. Find out how the ETO can help you or your business by visiting energytrust.org or calling 1-866-368-7878.
CUB is excited about a sustainable energy future in Oregon, with the ETO leading the way in developing even more creative, accessible practices to reduce energy use and protect our valuable resources. By lowering the demand for imported energy, even in the face of continuing economic challenges, the ETO plays a crucial role in our region’s economic and environmental long-term stability. We look forward to collaborating with the ETO for many more decades to come, striving together to implement progressive energy policy. A big thank you to the ETO for helping Oregonians save money, strengthen our economy and protect our environment!