Idaho’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) last Friday joined its governor and other state agencies in endorsing the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, a nationwide effort seeking to sign up all major public and private entities in all 50 states to commit to reducing energy use. Idaho PUC member Marsha Smith is co-chairing the national effort with Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy.

Idaho Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter, along with the state’s energy and environmental quality units, have endorsed national goals calling for commitments to reducing energy consumption throughout the nation. When fully implemented, the initiative could save Americans billions of dollars over the next decade on their energy bills, contribute to increased energy security and improve the environment, the PUC said.

Initiated by the federal Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, the national plan was developed by a leadership group of more than 50 electric and natural gas utilities, regulators, state agencies, large energy users, consumer advocates and energy efficiency/environmental organizations.

“Idaho’s PUC already has taken a number of steps to encourage energy efficiency in the state,” Idaho regulator Smith said. “Energy efficiency is the cleanest, least-cost energy available, and can be obtained more quickly than other generation resources.”

In cooperation with utilities it regulates, the PUC has implemented various demand-side management programs, such as time-of-use metering and weatherization efforts, for which the funding was recently doubled, the PUC said.

The Idaho governor called conservation the “lowest-hanging fruit in the energy orchard,” making it Idaho’s and America’s first priority. “Idaho has a great team in place, including the PUC, environmental quality department and energy division, and other agencies, working together to address a range of energy-related issues from greenhouse gas emissions to ensuring the infrastructure is in place to more efficiently and cleanly meet tomorrow’s needs.”

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