Focus on Energy: Helps Wisconsin Businesses and Residents Cut Annual Energy Costs by $53 Million

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

– Energy savings also fuel economic growth and protect the environment –

MADISON, Wis. (November 1, 2004) – Thanks to energy efficiency improvements made with the help of Focus on Energy, Wisconsin businesses and residents have cut their annual utility bills by almost $53 million. Since the program’s inception in July 2001, Focus on Energy has helped reduce Wisconsin’s annual electricity consumption by more than
511 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) – enough energy to meet the needs of more than 51,000 typical Wisconsin homes and roughly equivalent to the energy produced by a 58 MW baseload power plant running at full capacity. The energy-saving measures also have reduced yearly natural gas use by more than 25 million therms.

“Energy efficiency is a smart decision, especially now, with electric rates increasing and the potential for record-setting home heating costs this winter,” said Dan Schooff, administrator of the Wisconsin Division of Energy, which oversees Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative. “Over the past three years, Focus on Energy has demonstrated that energy efficiency is smart for Wisconsin’s economy, good for its environment and the best way to ensure its future supply of energy.”

“Over the past year, there’s been discussion about the need to improve Wisconsin’s energy generation and distribution systems to accommodate our expanding economy and the growing needs of our population,” Schooff said. “Energy efficiency – reducing the amount of energy needed to accomplish a task – is the first step. By promoting the need for state residents to be more energy efficient, Focus on Energy is helping ensure that Wisconsin’s businesses and residents have ready access to the energy they need.”

The energy savings have benefited businesses’ bottom lines and residents’ pocketbooks. Since July 2001, state businesses have trimmed their annual energy costs by nearly $29 million and residents have cut their annual energy expenses by more than $23 million.

That money has, in turn, helped fuel economic growth. Nearly 2,300 full-time jobs have been created. State businesses’ sales have grown by more than $166.3 million as companies that provide energy efficient products and services have ramped up to meet increased demand. Lower home energy costs also means residents have more disposable income with which to purchase goods and services from Wisconsin businesses.

Finally, by reducing the amount of fossil fuels that must be burned to power and heat homes and businesses, Focus on Energy is helping keep Wisconsin’s environment clean for future generations. Since July 2001, energy-saving measures implemented through the Focus on Energy program have prevented the emission of more than 1.4 billion pounds of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and the burning of 255,706 tons of coal to generate electricity.

About Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy is a public-private partnership offering energy information and services to energy utility customers throughout Wisconsin. The goals of this program are to encourage energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, enhance the environment and ensure the future supply of energy for Wisconsin. For more information, call 800-762-7077 or visit www.focusonenergy.com.