State energy-efficiency program saves $2.89 for every $1 invested

MADISON — A new independent report on Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy demonstrates that the state energy-efficiency program keeps money in all ratepayers’ pockets while supporting our economy and Main Street businesses.

“In 2012 alone, Focus on Energy saved Wisconsin homeowners and businesses $620 million in energy costs,” says Keith Reopelle, senior policy director of Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy group. “The latest report confirms that Focus is a critical program for our state.”

Created in 2001, Focus on Energy provides incentives and assistance to homeowners and businesses to reduce energy costs through energy efficiency. The latest report shows that for every $1 invested in the program, homeowners and businesses save $2.89 in energy costs, up from $2.46 in a 2011 legislative audit.

“Each year, Wisconsin sends $12.5 billion out of state to meet our energy needs. Investing in energy efficiency is the No. 1 way we can reduce that need and keep money circulating within our own economy,” says Reopelle. “Focus on Energy is a cost-effective program that not only directly helps Wisconsin residents and businesses who take advantage of it, it also saves all ratepayers money by reducing energy demand.”

In addition, Focus on Energy saved almost 650 million kilowatts of energy — the highest level of electric energy savings in the program’s 12-year history — and almost 635,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2012. That’s the same as replacing 600,000 old refrigerators in Wisconsin with new, energy-efficient versions.

“With such a huge return on investment and the potential to help business stay competitive by reducing their energy costs, we need to examine ways the program could achieve even greater energy savings,” says Reopelle. “This program is helping businesses stay competitive by reducing their energy bills while saving homeowners money as well.”