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Keeping up with the neighbors in energy savings

Are you among the 25,000 Rochester Public Utilities customers who, every two months, receive a report that compares your household's energy use to 100 similar-sized homes?

Several members of the Post-Bulletin Editorial Board are on the list, and although we don't always find good news on that report, there's no denying that it's interesting — and that it has prompted us to be a bit more vigilant about turning off lights, installing more compact fluorescent bulbs and adjusting our thermostats. When you find out that your home uses more energy than 85 percent of your neighbors, you tend to look around a bit, trying to figure out why.

The program's goal is to encourage people to use less energy, and it's working. In 2010, the customers in the "experimental group" reduced their energy usage by nearly 4 million kilowatt hours.

So we strongly support RPU's plan to extend this program for a third year, and to expand it to include all 41,000 households that RPU serves. Current projections predict that doing so will prompt an annual energy savings of 6.5 kilowatt hours. 

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: RPU is in the odd position of trying to encourage people to use LESS of the commodity that it sells. The energy-usage reports are just one method among many that RPU employs to achieve that goal.

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For example, you're probably familiar with the rebates RPU offers on high-efficiency furnaces, refrigerators, laundry machines and other appliances, but did you know that similar rebates are available for your holiday light display? By purchasing LED lights, you can earn rebates of up to $12 per string.

To learn more about the variety of available rebates, or to get some valuable energy-saving tips, go online at rpu.org.

Don't wait until you get that first energy-usage report. Get the whole family involved in reducing your energy consumption. Who knows? You might save enough each month to pay for a night at the movies.

Just remember to turn off the lights when you leave.

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