Mesa is looking to promote energy conservation programs that could eventually lead to rate reductions for thousands of residents who now pay 15 percent more for power from the city’s utility than customers of surrounding electric companies.
City officials are considering promoting measures that could curtail air conditioning use in the summer and offering incentives to residents and businesses for better insulation, more efficient lighting and more energy-friendly windows.
The city’s goal of reducing power consumption by 3 percent during the next several years could help customers who curb their energy use because the city would not have to buy expensive short-term power contracts, said Frank McRae, Mesa’s resource division director.
“Conservation programs take some time to ramp up, so we’re not expecting these changes to come overnight,” he said.
While promoting some conservation measures, Mesa is frowning on alternative energy systems such as photovoltaic panels that reduce Mesa’s power load and transmit electricity back into the city’s power grid.
Under a proposal, customers who generate their own power through alternative energy systems would be reimbursed much less than other “net metering” programs offered by Salt River Project and other electric utilities.
The city’s plan for running the utility could go to the City Council in December. The city has also been in discussions with SRP about buying the city’s electric utility. SRP is studying what it might pay the city in a deal. That study could be completed in December, officials said.