Ameren Missouri has proposed expanding its energy-efficiency programs to ease the company’s impact on the environment.
In a proposal to the Missouri Public Service Commission on Tuesday, the utility sought approval to invest $550 million in 26 programs that would help customers save energy.
The programs would help people recycle old, inefficient appliances; educate those in low-income communities on how to lower energy use; and promote smart thermostats to reduce electricity costs during the high energy consumption that happens in the summer.
Together, the programs would save 2 billion kilowatt-hours of energy, the amount of energy about 166,000 homes consume in one year, said Tara Oglesby, vice president of customer experience at Ameren Missouri.
“We are going to have a number of different programs that’s going to help [customers] that’s new and different than in the past,” Oglesby said. “And we’re also bringing back a program or two that we found they really favored.”
The utility and its customers have much to gain from the programs, she added.
“It allows us to defer the need to build new energy centers for our customers,” Oglesby said. “If we don’t have to build those energy centers, then our customers don’t have to pay for that type of investment.”
The initiative is longer than most energy-efficiency programs proposed under the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act, said James Owen, executive director of Renew Missouri, a nonprofit that advocates for renewable energy.
“I think this is going to allow longer-term relationships with their customers with their utilities,” Owen said. “It’s going to lead to more savings.”
The energy-efficiency proposal would also help Ameren reach goals it announced late last year to reduce its carbon footprint. The company aims to cut 80 percent of its carbon emissions in 2005 by 2050.
If approved, Ameren could begin offering the energy-efficiency programs next year.
Follow Eli on Twitter: @StoriesByEli