With state regulatory okays for its near-term programs designed to shave 40 MW of electricity and 5 million therms of gas loads, Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) announced Friday it will seek outside help through a request-for-proposal (RFP) process to reach and exceed its conservation goals.

It hopes to tap firms with energy efficiency expertise, and Friday filed a draft RFP with state of Washington regulators. The utility is seeking comments on its 34-page proposal by Jan. 14, and approval from the state regulatory commission by Jan. 28.

Specifically, PSE, the chief subsidiary of Puget Energy, wants to get geared up for new program in 2006 and beyond as a means of supplementing and upgrading its existing energy-saving programs.

The utility received approval earlier in the month from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission for its program to help retail customers collectively save what PSE called “nearly 40 average MW and more than 5 million therms of natural gas” in the next two years. PSE said longer term is wants to meet as much as 10% of its customers’ energy needs through additional conservation a decade from now.

The program is expected to complement other efforts for beefing up renewable power resources through the purchase of 50 MW of wind power and signing new power purchase agreements from clean state-of-art natural gas-fired generation units. In all, PSE hopes to acquire more than 400 MW.

“We want to give our customers every opportunity to earn (energy) savings, so we’re providing them the very latest and best equipment, technologies, and strategies for using energy more efficiently,” said Cal Shirley, PSE energy efficiency services director.

“Under the RFP process, PSE wants companies with energy-efficiency capabilities to propose ways of making conservation even more attractive and cost-effective, and to identify energy-saving innovations currently unavailable to PSE customers,” Shirley said, noting that the utility is looking for proposals for pilot projects that it might implement in the next two-year phase, 2006-07.

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