A Gift of Green: OPALCO Energy Efficient Kits Arriving by Mail

OPALCO sent out free energy efficiency kits in brown boxes from Niagara Conservation Co. to more than 6,800 members who live full‐time in OPALCO’s service territory. The kits were paid for by Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) Conservation Rate Credit program—designed to encourage conservation of regional energy resources. The kits contain:

  • (2) 23‐watt (100 watt equivalent) new‐generation Energy Star rated compact fluorescent lightbulbs
  • (2) 20‐watt (75 watt equivalent) new‐generation Energy Star rated compact fluorescent lightbulbs
  • (1) 13 watt (60 watt equivalent) new‐generation Energy Star rated compact fluorescent lightbulb
  • (2) low‐flow showerheads
  • (1) kitchen faucet aerator
  • (1) bathroom faucet aerator
  • And tips for conserving energy and water

What value do the kits bring to members?

The life of a compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) is 10,000 hours – 13 times longer than an incandescent bulb. The value to members by the numbers (using OPALCO’s retail rate @ $0.0758 per kWh):

  • Over the life of one 23‐watt compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) there is a savings of 770
  • kilowatt hours (kWh) – which equates to $58.00 in the members’ pockets.
  • If you replace five incandescent bulbs in your home with all five CFLs included in the kit, you will save some 3,110 kWh and $236 over the life of the bulb.
  • If 6,000 members install just one of the four 23‐watt CFLs there would be a combined savings of 4,620,000 kWh over the life of the bulbs – which equates to $350,000 in savings.
  • If 4,620 OPALCO homes that use an average of 1,000 kWh per month participated, the savings over the course of a year for each member would equate to an average month’s bill.
  • If 6,000 members install all five CFLs, there would be a Co‐op wide savings of 18,660,000 kWh and $1,414,440.
  • Low‐flow showerheads and efficient aerators not only save water, but electricity that runs pumps and most significantly hot water heating. According to BPA, the average energy savings per low‐flow showerhead installed is 223 kWh per year. If 6,000 members installed two low‐flow showerheads, the savings would equal 2,676,000 kWh and $220,840.

The value to the Cooperative is conservation of energy, building load management practices and the strength of having an educated core of member‐owners with a growing commitment to energy efficiency. If you can’t use all of the items in your energy efficiency kit, please pass them on to someone who can. Low‐flow showerheads can be returned to your local water company for redistribution. These conservation measures and tools must be in use to have value.

What else is OPALCO doing towards energy efficiency?

Most of BPA’s Conservation Rate Credits are aimed at getting the biggest bang for the buck – and that means bigger and usually commercial users. OPALCO has two programs for commercial members: Energy Smart and Commercial Lighting.The Energy Smart Program provides grocers or any business with a significant refrigeration or HVAC load with a complete set of services for HVAC, lighting, and refrigeration retrofits. The Commercial Lighting Retrofit Program provides a free lighting audit and connects businesses with the latest advances and financial rebates in lighting technology. OPALCO is committed to energy efficiency and to giving co‐op members the information and tools they need to make good choices, conserve energy and save money on their power bills. OPALCO also helps members with energy efficient purchases such as Energy Star appliances and renewable generation projects by coordinating rebate programs from local, state and federal sources. In addition, energy efficient Marathon hot water heaters, CFLs, LED holiday lights and low‐flow showerheads are available for purchase at OPALCO’s offices.

OPALCO is a member‐owned cooperative electrical utility serving more than 14,000 accounts on 20 islands in San Juan County.  OPALCO provides electricity that is 97% greenhouse‐gas free and is predominately generated by hydro‐electric plants. OPALCO was founded in 1937 to bring electricity to rural islanders and is one of 900 electric co‐ops in the United States today.