In non-coronavirus news, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has honored Entergy Arkansas, the state’s largest electric utility, for its promotion of energy efficiency among its 700,000 Arkansas customers.
The investor-owned utility, a subsidiary of Entergy Corp. of New Orleans, received a 2019 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award. Energy Star is the government’s trademarked symbol for energy efficiency, and the program provides energy-saving information, tips and technology options for residences and businesses, according to a utility news release. The recognition is specifically for two Entergy efforts, its 2019 Residential Lighting and Appliances program and Commercial Midstream program.
The residential effort offered customers LED lighting and smart thermostats, as well as cash back for purchases of certified efficient pool pumps, dehumidifiers and air purifiers. The midstream program urged electrical distributors to buy Energy Star-certified lamps and fixtures to commercial customers. By allowing small, recurring purchases without out-of-pocket expense, the program encourages phased upgrades or ongoing repairs.
Through these efforts and others, the release said, Entergy Arkansas has helped its customers save more than 1.9 billion kilowatt hours of power over 11 years. The energy saved in 2019 alone would be enough to power all the homes in Little Rock for about 10 months, the utility said.
“It may seem counterintuitive that the electric company wants our customers to use less of what we sell,” said Gabe Munoz, Entergy Arkansas’ manager of energy efficiency. “However, energy efficiency programs cost less than a new power plant, so using less rather than building for more helps us keep our rates lower than the national and regional average. Lower rates help bring business to Arkansas. In addition, improving efficiency is good for the environment, a key objective for Entergy here in the Natural State.”
“This is the second time in 11 years that Entergy Arkansas has been awarded a Partner of the Year honor by the EPA,” he said.
In 2019, Entergy Solutions paid incentives of more than $36.2 million to customers to help them pay for energy efficiency improvements.
Entergy Corp. owns and operates power plants with about 30,000 megawatts of generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. The corporation, which has annual revenue of $11 billion and about 13,500 employees, delivers electricity to 2.9 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.