LEDs Light Up Energy Savings in Nevada

August 20, 2015


LAS VEGAS, NV —Energy efficiency programs in Nevada in 2014 were more productive than expected, thanks in part to robust sales of LED lights.

The information was included in two recent filings by NV Energy to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission:

  1. In a July filing, Nevada Power Company (NPC, the subsidiary of NV Energy that operates in southern Nevada) said it spent 17% less than its $50.3 million budget for energy efficiency programs in southern Nevada yet saved 20% more energy than expected.   In 2014, NPC’s programs saved customers a total of 175 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.
  2. Sierra Pacific Power Company (SPPC, the subsidiary of NV Energy in northern Nevada) said in a June 30 filing that it spent 32% less than the budgeted $10.4 million for residential and business energy efficiency programs yet still delivered 10% more energy savings than projected, a total 54 million kilowatt–hours of electricity annually.

“Nevada has turned the corner,” said Tom Polikalas, Nevada representative of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP).  “NV Energy is investing more money in energy efficiency programs for households and businesses, and those investments are paying off in terms of greater energy and utility bill savings for customers.  The good news for consumers is that technologies such as LED bulbs are providing more energy savings ‘bang per buck’ than anyone expected a few years ago.”

Success with Energy Efficiency is Helping Nevada Meet Clean Power Plan Goals

The positive results of NV Energy’s increased investment in energy efficiency programs also bodes well for Nevada’s ability to meet goals set for carbon dioxide emission reductions under the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  The utility says that its 2014 programs will reduce statewide carbon dioxide emissions by 868 thousand metric tons over the lifetime of the energy efficiency measures installed last year, the equivalent of not burning an amount of coal that would fill 4,654 railcars.

“We’d like to see NV Energy use all of the approved budget for energy efficiency in order to maximize savings that will help the state meet and exceed the goals of the Clean Power Plan,” said Adam Bickford, SWEEP’s senior utility associate.  “The fundamental positive economics of energy efficiency have proven to be a very attractive tool the state can use to meet the Clean Power Plan goals.”

LEDs Sold at Three Times the Projections

In its filing with the PUC, NV Energy said LED bulbs are being purchased in very large quantities now that prices are coming down.  Participation in the residential lighting program and energy savings were three times the utility’s initial projections and prompted the company to add more money to the program mid-year. NV Energy is proposing to further ramp up its residential LED lighting program during 2016-18.

The Biggest Energy Savings Came from Businesses

NV Energy’s biggest overall energy savings in 2014 came from Sure Bet Commercial programs for businesses that offer rebates on energy-efficient LED lighting, high efficiency cooling systems, efficient motors and other energy efficiency measures.  In southern Nevada, the program used 74% of its budgeted $10.6 million and exceeded its energy savings goals by almost 50%.  NV Energy is also proposing to expand the Sure Bet program during 2016-18.

NV Energy Proposes Even Bigger Savings for 2016-2018

In its preferred plan, NV Energy proposed an increased budget for energy efficiency programs in southern Nevada to $56 million in 2016, $61 million in 2017, and $65 million in 2018. The utility also presented a more aggressive energy savings plan for 2016-18 that would result in even greater energy savings, economic benefits for customers, and emissions reductions.  The estimated net economic benefits for customers are $164 million under the utility’s preferred plan but $207 million under the more aggressive plan.

“Based on better economic and environmental benefits, SWEEP urges the Public Utilities Commission to approve the more aggressive plan,” Bickford said.

LED Light Bulb Information At a Glance

  • NV Energy pays an incentive to distributors or participating retailers who then reduce the cost of LED bulbs at the checkout counter.  Lower wholesale costs of the bulbs combined with discounts at the cash register have boosted sales significantly in Nevada.
  • The utility sends lighting program staff into stores to educate both retail salespeople and consumers.
  • Forty percent of LED bulbs are installed in kitchens and living rooms and another 30 percent are used in bathrooms and bedrooms, the utility said.
  • A study of 1,200 Nevada households’ use of LED lights found that LEDs are turned on an average of 4 hours a day.