This Electric Life

Energy Services Update (6/3/10)

Conservation & Energy Efficiency Program Update
Since December of 2008, Bonneville Power Administration has been working with public utilities around the region to develop more comprehensive rural residential conservation and energy efficiency programs—these are the rebates and incentives that we pass through to our members. These programs are funded through all public utilities Tier I power purchases—and are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to OPALCO members. With the latest update to these programs in April, OPALCO has closely examined all of the rebate opportunities from BPA and has created a new menu of rebate offerings to maximize members’ energy and dollar savings. The new menu of programs was unveiled at the annual meeting on May 1st in the form of the OPALCO Treasure Map (see it online at

Our goal is to run an effective program that gives our members access to the greatest opportunities for energy savings. In order to get the word out about these new programs and rebate opportunities, OPALCO is touring the islands in early June to meet face to face with members, explain the new programs and answer questions. The “Treasure Chest of Energy Savings” tour is coming:

LOPEZ—Monday, June 7th @ 10:30 am
Woodmen Hall (4102 Fisherman Bay Rd.)

SAN JUAN—Tuesday, June 8th @ 9:00 am
OPALCO Office (1034 Guard St.)

ORCAS—Tuesday, June 8th @ 1:30 pm
OPALCO Office (183 Mt. Baker Rd.)

SHAW—Tuesday, June 15th @ 10:00 am
Shaw Community Center

Member Owned Renewable Energy
OPALCO has a robust interconnect program—more than 60 members generate their own renewable power (solar, wind, micro-hydro) and interconnect to the grid. In order to better serve this growing demand, OPALCO is embarking on a public process to develop a new interconnect (or renewable energy) program that we are calling MORE (member owned renewable energy).  OPALCO invites member nominations to a MORE Steering Committee that will start work in early July to develop the program.

The OPALCO Board met in early April to discuss their overall vision for OPALCO’s Conservation and Energy Efficiency programs. From that meeting comes a directive that, as we work with the MORE Steering Committee, in addition to addressing the immediate need for a revamped renewable power program through MORE, we also look to integrate some additional conservation measures—beyond what we can offer through BPA—into that public process. The goal is maximize our savings and limit our load growth as a coop through energy efficiency and conservation at the same time that we add renewable generation.

Representation on the seven-member MORE Steering Committee will include one OPALCO member each from San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island, Shaw Island, Outer islands, OPALCO Board Member and a Member at Large. Questions and nominations should be forwarded to Anne Bertino, Asst. Manager of Energy Services: or 376-3571.

OPALCO’s website ( is the go-to source for information, forms and contact information. OPALCO news is regularly posted online and in local papers. Events are advertised online, in local papers, on local bulletin boards and, occasionally, on billing inserts. OPALCO has recently begun using Twitter (@orcaspower) to post messages about power outages and we continue to explore new technologies for greater outreach.