WH board provides input to state energy commissioner

Posted on March 25, 2011

Rockford, Minn. (March 25, 2011) — Bill Grant, deputy commissioner of commerce for Gov. Mark Dayton, spoke on behalf of the Minnesota Office of Energy Security at the Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association (WH) Board of Directors meeting on March 15.

The Office of Energy Security is a division of the Minnesota Department of Commerce and has been providing energy information to the state for more than 30 years. The office oversees the state’s energy conservation mandates as spelled out in the Next Generation Energy Act (NGEA) of 2007.

Grant spoke to the board about the challenges and opportunities associated with energy conservation, and how best to achieve the state’s conservation goals. As a part of the NGEA, the state of Minnesota is requiring that all electric utilities provide consumer programs that will ultimately reduce energy consumption by 1.5 percent per year. The mandate also requires utilities to spend 1.5 percent of gross revenues on energy conservation activities.

WH reduced its total energy usage by more than 6 million kilowatt hours in 2010 – the equivalent annual energy usage of 500 homes. In addition to this reduction, WH has also invested in renewable energy alternatives and provides incentives for customers to purchase energy-efficient appliances. However, WH was required to spend almost $1 million in 2010 alone to achieve the state’s goals. During the meeting, WH gave six specific recommendations to Grant to make the program more affordable while promoting better environmental results.

“It was a pleasure to have Commissioner Grant speak at our board meeting,” said Wright-Hennepin (WH) President and CEO Mark Vogt. “There are approximately 200 electric utilities in Minnesota, and we were gratified that he chose WH as a place to seek input.”

WH is a member-owned non-profit electric utility that provides electric power to Wright County and the western part of Hennepin County. The cooperative has been a corporate citizen in this area since 1937 and currently serves more than 46,000 electric accounts. The utility started its security division in 1989 that provides local home security solutions as well as monitors alarm systems for more than 50,000 customers in 32 states and three Canadian provinces.