Energy Efficiency

Related Information


For decades, energy companies have encouraged customers to use energy efficiently in order to save energy. Terms used for this effort include energy efficiency (making better use of energy through more efficient technology), energy conservation (making better use of energy by changing our behavior) and load management (shifting energy use to off-peak periods). In the 1970s and 1980s, an energy crisis prompted the creation of energy-efficiency programs that encouraged customers to buy energy-efficient appliances. In the 1990s, rising energy prices brought energy-management programs to the forefront. Today, with an increasing concern about the environment, these programs help us all be more responsible energy consumers.

The Integrys Viewpoint

Integrys Energy Group has always believed it has a responsibility to help customers use energy wisely. It's part of our mission to provide customers with the best value in energy and energy-related services. Whether the result is a lower energy bill or a lesser impact on the environment, energy-saving information and programs are valuable to our customers. A new priority for our company is to focus on energy efficiency in our own operations.

We believe:

  • Energy efficiency can help reduce our impact on the environment. Energy efficiency is a critical, cost-effective way to reduce emissions and our impact on the environment. Integrys companies in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and other states have energy-efficiency resources and programs in place for customers and are continually developing new ones.
  • We must practice energy efficiency in our own operations. Our companies are focused on providing safe, reliable energy. We've always provided programs and information to help our customers make the most of the energy they use. As Integrys has become increasingly attuned to our impact on the environment, we have been changing our behavior. We realize that the best way to encourage energy efficiency is to begin "at home," in our own operations. With our own energy-efficiency success stories, we are better able to be a resource for customers.

Our Actions

Integrys Energy Group is addressing environmental issues by helping everyone get more energy-efficient. We are:

  • Promoting energy efficiency. We actively educate customers about energy-efficient buildings and appliances and simple ways to use less energy. Here are some examples:

    • Wisconsin Public Service, like other Wisconsin electric utilities, funds Focus on Energy. Focus on Energy is a state-utility partnership offering energy-saving programs to homeowners, businesses and industry. Wisconsin Public Service helped develop and pilot popular Focus on Energy programs.
    • Wisconsin Public Service has introduced the iCanConserve energy conservation pilot to three communities. This innovative project's goal is simple: to give customers the tools to use less energy and lower their energy bills, without asking for unreasonable changes in lifestyles and work habits.
    • Minnesota Energy Resources offers energy-saving audits and rebates. The audits reveal areas in a home where energy is being wasted and informs customers of how to improve their home's efficiency. The utility picks up most of the cost for the audits, with the customer paying a reduced amount. Minnesota Energy Resources also offers rebates for energy-efficient heating, water heating, appliances in new homes and other equipment, as well as incentives for commercial customers to install energy-efficient equipment.
    • Peoples Gas is a premier sponsor of a Smart Home that was built at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. It is a sustainable, green home that demonstrates new energy-efficiency ideas. The home is warmed by Peoples Gas. We also offer energy-efficiency programs to our Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas customers.
    • Integrys Energy Services has a business segment focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation. This ensures the business is ready to address customers' increasing desire for environmentally friendly products and services.
    • On all of our utilities' websites, customers can find Energy-Saving Tips & Ideas to help them manage their energy use and bills.
  • Supporting regulatory changes to support energy efficiency. Decoupling mechanisms are being used nationally to help energy companies promote energy efficiency without incurring negative financial consequences. When energy companies promote energy efficiency, they essentially tell customers, "Use less of the product we sell." It's an unusual statement for any business to make, but it's the right thing to do for customers and the environment. At the same time, every publicly traded energy company has a responsibility to provide shareholders with a reasonable return on their investment. That keeps energy companies viable so they can continue providing safe, reliable energy and help keep the economy working. Decoupling helps balance the interests of customers, the environment and investors. It separates the utility's recovery of fixed costs from the amount of energy delivered to customers. Decoupling is used in 19 states for electric and 29 states for natural gas. Integrys utilities have embraced the use of decoupling in WI, MI and IL and a request to adopt decoupling is pending in MN.
  • Incorporating energy efficiency in our own operations. We believe it's worth the energy it takes to make improvements in efficiency. It's even more exciting to make changes like these:

    • Wisconsin Public Service constructed a new operations center in Rhinelander, Wisconsin that is certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a program of the U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED program seeks human and environmental health, sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
    • Minnesota Energy Resources also constructed a new operations center in Rochester, Minnesota. This facility is also LEED-certified.
    • Integrys has an Energy Management Team. The team's goal is to reduce energy use in all Integrys buildings. The team's first step was to track energy use and engage employees in the planning. Several projects are in progress, including a computer monitor policy; lighting upgrades; digital controls for heating, ventilating and air conditioning; and occupancy sensors.
  • Joining energy-efficiency discussions at the state and local level. The president and CEO of Integrys Energy Group as well as a number of other employees participated on former Wisconsin Governor Doyle's Task Force on Global Warming. The final recommendations of the task force include, for example, enhanced energy efficiency, energy-efficient and green building codes and energy-efficient lighting for rental properties.
     
    In Illinois, Peoples Gas is among a core group of utility and industry leaders helping to shape the climate change agenda of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. The mayor has set challenging goals for the city and has charged the Chicago Department on Environment with researching and implementing a sweeping plan to reduce greenhouse emissions. The priorities include reducing energy use through stringent building code enhancements, promoting green infrastructure such as green roofs, reducing travel emissions and moving to a clean, efficient energy supply.
  • Participating in industry organizations to encourage energy-efficient technology and solutions. Integrys Energy Group is a long-standing member of Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the American Gas Association (AGA). These groups are engaged in the public debate about how to address climate change. Both groups promote energy efficiency as the cornerstone of any climate change solution.