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 RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Two new programs that will help thousands of Virginia Power customers save energy through low- interest financing and payments for technologically advanced, energy- saving equipment have been approved by the State Corporation Commission.
 Virginia Power will begin accepting applications for the programs on Sept. 16. The initiatives are part of the company's ConserVision approach to helping its customers use energy as efficiently as possible and were proposed to the commission in April.
 The pilot Financing for Energy Efficiency Measures program will be offered through the end of 1994 and will provide loans with annual interest rates as low as 6 percent to as many as 3,000 Virginia Power residential customers. Among the improvements covered by the residential program are upgrading of existing heating and cooling systems to high-efficiency heat pumps or air conditioners, improved ductwork and insulation, programmable thermostats, home energy management systems and systems using waste heat to produce hot water.
 The interest rate for residential loans will be tied to the efficiency of the equipment installed, with loans for systems of the highest efficiency carrying the lowest rates. The pilot residential loan program will be administered by a financial services company under contract to Virginia Power. Loans of up to $10,000 will be offered to residential customers.
 The commercial/industrial portion of the initiative will help as many as 550 business customers obtain reduced-interest bank loans of up to $100,000 for energy efficiency improvements. Virginia Power will pay participating banks a fee, effectively lowering the interest rate on such loans by 2 percent. Some of the covered improvements will include installation or upgrade of high-efficiency electric heating and cooling systems; permanent conversion to energy-efficient indoor lighting systems; and installation of high-efficiency motors and electro- technologies.
 Virginia Power had asked for SCC permission to offer the financing to 6,000 residential and 1,100 commercial-industrial customers, but the commission ruled the pilot program should be conducted with a smaller number of participants.
 The second pilot program, Field Studies of New Energy-Efficient Technologies, will provide a total of $1 million in direct payments to customers for installation of advanced energy-saving technology in as many as 335 new homes. The residential allowances will help cover the differences in cost between higher-efficiency equipment and the systems that would otherwise be installed. Among the equipment eligible for the payments will be geothermal heat pumps, advanced air-to-air heat pumps and thermal storage systems.
 The program will also provide a total of $1 million in payments to as many as 145 commercial and industrial customers to help cover the additional cost of installing advanced energy-saving systems for heating, cooling, water heating and installation of high-efficiency electro-technologies. The allowance program will conclude by June 30, 1995.
 "We welcome the commission's approval of these programs. They are valuable additions to our ConserVision efforts to promote energy efficiency," said James T. Rhodes, president and chief executive officer. "While we would have preferred that the loan program had been approved as filed, we are confident these initiatives will be important tools for helping our customers save money and energy."
 Also beginning Sept. 16, smaller versions of the loan and allowance programs will be offered in the company's North Carolina service area, where it does business as North Carolina Power.
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 /CONTACT: William H. Byrd of Virginia Power, 804-771-6115/

CO: Virginia Power ST: Virginia IN: UTI SU: PDT

DC-KD -- DC021 -- 3730 08/17/93 16:57 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 17, 1993

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