The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Business

April 24, 2013

Empire shareholders to vote on energy efficiency resolution

JOPLIN, Mo. — Shareholders with the Empire District Electric Co., during their annual meeting on  Thursday in Joplin, will vote on a Missouri Sierra Club resolution to support energy efficiency.

The resolution was put before the shareholders by Sierra Club member Jim Evans, of Republic, an Empire customer and shareholder.

“It would lower bills, and stabilize rates for Empire customers as well as create local jobs,’’ said Harry Alper, a Sierra Club organizer. “Empire lags behind other utilities in the state. Ameren Missouri and KCP&L-Greater Missouri Operations already have such programs in place.’’

Alper said Empire has yet to implement a comprehensive energy efficiency program as allowed under the 2009 Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act (MEEIA).

The state Legislature passed the act with the goal of reducing the demand for electricity by allowing the state’s four investor-owned utilities, including Empire, to recoup from customers the costs of subsidizing energy-efficient products and services.

By adopting an energy efficiency program, Alper said residential and commercial customers of Empire could receive subsidies from the company for the purchase of fluorescent light bulbs and energy retrofits to reduce usage. Customers also could get a rebate for the purchase of efficient water heaters and air conditioners.

If a majority of Empire’s shareholders support the resolution, the company would be obligated to prepare a report that outlines opportunities to increase efficiency, Alper said.

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