A group of Iowa environmentalists are urging MidAmerican Energy to revise its efficiency goals for the state. MidAmerican recently submitted a five-year energy efficiency plan to the Iowa Utilities Board for approval.
Nathaniel Baer of the Iowa Environmental Council says the plan doesn’t do enough to help consumers produce their own energy. Baer says the company currently does a lot to help consumers with a lot of different technology for energy efficiency — things like rebates and technical assistance, and consumer education for energy efficient appliances and improvements.
"And we’re asking them to do the same thing with renewable energy, something that would help consumers put up a small wind turbine or a small solar panel or a solar hot water heater and simply use a lot less of the utilities electricity by generating their own," Baer says.
Baer says the plan fails to provide enough funding for consumer education for such things as using energy hungry appliances wisely. He says one way to conserve is to eliminate the so-called "phantom load" or the electricity pulled by tv’s and other appliances even when they are turned off. Baer says you can eliminate that electricity use by plugging all the appliances into a power strip and turning it off once you’re done.
Baer says the MidAmerican plan lets industrial customers off too easy. Baer says that means industrial customers are not achieving as much energy efficiency as they need to and he says that means commercial and residential sectors have to do more and pay more. The Iowa Utilities Board will hold a public hearing on the plan this fall.