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June 24, 2014

By Vicki Vaughan
San Antonio Express-News

CPS CEO Doyle Beneby

CPS CEO Doyle Beneby said the Customer Response Unit addresses a recurring concern. generic viagra that is reliable

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CPS CEO Doyle Beneby said the Customer Response Unit addresses a recurring concern.

SAN ANTONIO — CPS Energy launched a new program Tuesday that’s designed to help customers take advantage of its energy efficiency programs and help those struggling to pay utility bills learn how to get assistance.

CPS CEO Doyle Beneby explained that in meetings with City Council, "one thing kept coming up — that we at CPS weren’t reaching all the places that we needed to" to inform customers about its services, especially its low-income assistance programs.

As a result, city-owned CPS has formed a new business unit whose mobile customer-service team will match CPS customers with the right program or service.

In some cases, the outreach employees will meet face-to-face with customers. Customers will be able to identify mobile team members because they’ll wear uniform shirts and drive hybrid vehicles bearing a Customer Response Unit logo.

The outreach plan is designed to make customers aware of various CPS programs that can help them manage or lower their utility bills.

The Casa Verde program, for example, provides an average of $5,000 in free home weatherization improvements for those who qualify.

District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales praised CPS’ new program, saying she’d initially asked the utility to send an employee to her district office a couple of days a week to help with customers’ problems. viagra gold 800mg

"So this is beyond what our expectation was, because it was only going to be for District 5 residents," Gonzales said. "Now this will be for people in the whole city who need it. It’s a much more focused approach to help people."

Maria Koudouris, CPS’ community engagement vice president, said the outreach team will handle customers’ problems that can’t be handled by the utility’s call centers.

For example, if a senior citizen has fallen behind in paying a bill, it may be caused by the timing of a Social Security payment. viagra printable coupon

"We’ll set them up with a better payment plan … and we’ll take more of a holistic approach" to see if the customer qualifies for weatherization or another assistance program, Koudouris said.

To qualify for the weatherization program, a customer’s income must be no more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

"There’s a whole menu of programs that we have, and we’ll try to get a lot more customers into those programs," she said. cheap online viagra no prescription

About half a dozen CPS employees will be part of the outreach group "and it could grow from there," CPS spokeswoman Lisa Lewis said.

Koudouris said CPS initially will work with Merced Housing Texas, a nonprofit that provides affordable housing, and the George Gervin Youth Center to get the word out.

Chuck Landy Jr., vice president of community and government affairs at the Gervin center, said it receives many calls from people asking how they can get help in paying their utility bills.

"This assistance from CPS will make a difference," Landy said.

Gervin center officials plan to aid the CPS team by doing their own outreach to tell the community about CPS programs.

"We’ll bring in all of our resources at the Gervin center," Landy said.

Also Tuesday, CPS said it is extending summer hours at its customer service centers to 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for residential customers.

Saturday hours — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. — remain the same.

Fair Use Notice
This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

December 27, 2013

Aven Satre-Meloy Mosiac

company solar install

Don’t think solar can save you or your community money? Guess again. In today’s cut-throat economy, businesses rarely act without thinking in their bottomline’s best interest. Solar power was once considered uneconomical and was something championed only by environmentalists or hippies, but those days are long gone; corporate boardrooms around the world have embraced it as a solid, money-saving investment. Check out the companies below to find out who has made the business-savvy decision of adding solar to cut costs, while shrinking their carbon footprints. If going solar is a smart decision for these guys, you should consider finding out how Mosaic can help you save money with solar. Cost of Generic vardenafil

1. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Walmart solar install

Walmart is one of the largest producers of solar power

With installations like this one on a Wal-Mart in Foothill Ranch, California, the multinational retail corporation led the way for corporate solar installations in 2013, reaching 89 MW of installed solar capacity. Wal-Mart is now generating more energy from the sun than 38 U.S. states, enough to power 22,250 U.S. homes. While it’s currently producing more solar energy today than the entire country did in 1987, Wal-Mart still has room to grow and plans to install even more systems atop its stores’ rooftops in the coming year.

2. Costco Wholesale Corp.

Costco solar install

Costco employs renewable energy on its stores

Costco Wholesale bulked up its solar capacity in 2013 and now has 78 solar installations on warehouses and stores in states such as Hawaii, Colorado, California, and New Jersey. Costco has reached 47 MW of installed solar capacity, which puts it in second place behind Wal-Mart on the list of businesses generating the most solar energy.

3. Kohl’s Corp.

Kohl's solar install

Kohl’s store with solar panel on the roof

Kohl’s impressive commitment to green power, which saw the company meet its ambitious goal of achieving net zero emissions each of the past three years, continued this year as the department store conglomerate reached a total solar capacity of 44 MW. In 2013, 14 new store locations added solar energy, bringing their total to 140 stores, and the company is on track to meet its goal of having 200 active solar installations by 2015.

4. Apple Inc.

Apple solar install

Apple gets much of its electricity from renewable sources

After completing the nation’s largest end user-owned onsite solar photovoltaic array at the end of 2012 in Maiden, North Carolina, Apple started to construct another 20 MW solar installation on nearby land, which aims to produce nearly 42 million kWh of solar energy by the end of 2013. All together, Apple boasts 40.7 MW of solar energy capacity, putting it in fourth place on the list of companies that produce the most solar power.

5. Ikea GroupIKEA is a green energy leader

IKEA solar install

Rounding out the top five on the list of companies rapidly going solar is furniture giant Ikea, which started construction on the store dubbed "IKEA Miami" in 2013. Besides being notable for its massive size (more than triple the size of a typical Wal-Mart), the store’s roof is also making waves with a solar array of 4,620 panels capable of generating 1.7 million kWh of electricity every year. IKEA aims to put solar panels atop 90 percent of its U.S. locations, and the company is currently generating 35 MW of solar energy from its stores’ installations.

Learn more:

Aven Satre-Meloy is a senior at Santa Clara University studying political science and environmental studies, and he recently joined Mosaic and the Blog Leadership Team as a Communications Fellow. He has spent the past two years blogging and managing the social media presence for the Santa Clara University Office of Sustainability, and he is especially interested in how renewable energy can create sustainable growth in the developing world. A Montana native, Aven thoroughly appreciates all the sun he can find in the Bay Area.

September 20, 2013

By JAMES OSBORNE Staff Writer josborne@(at)
Dallas Morning News

wind powered turbines

The energy generated in Texas by wind-powered turbines, like those at BP’s Trinity Hills Wind Farm near Olney, has surged almost 20 percent so far in 2013. New supply lines are making it easier to get power to the grid.

After a lackluster 2012, wind power in Texas is on the rebound.

Through the first eight months of the year the amount of power generated by wind farms within Texas’ electrical grid surpassed 23 million megawatts. That’s up almost 20 percent from last year and is the largest increase since 2010, according to data released last week by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

The surge comes despite a relatively modest increase in new wind farms within the ERCOT grid, which covers most but not all of Texas. Left out is the gusty Panhandle, where wind farm development has been moving at a quick pace of late.

And while no formal analysis has been undertaken, government officials and those within the industry say between new transmission lines ending electricity bottlenecks in West Texas, more efficient wind turbines and some new capacity, more and more space on the grid is occupied by wind.

"You combine all these things together with the possibility that wind is different this year — the nature of fronts and how and when they come through — and it’s arguably enough to cause that effect," said Russel E. Smith, executive director of the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association.

With so many of the wind farms in West Texas, getting the electricity they generate to the population centers around Dallas, Houston and Austin had proved difficult with operators undercutting each other for precious space on a limited number of transmission lines.

Cheapest power

But 3,500 miles of new transmission are coming online through a $6.8 billion project ordered by the Texas Legislature in 2005. And with increased electrical needs in the oil fields around the wind turbines, the bottlenecks are reducing and more electricity is getting to market, said Jeff Clark, executive director of the industry group the Wind Coalition.

"People are buying this wind and using this wind because it’s the cheapest available power, and the net effect is reduced cost for the provider," he said.
That deluge of wind power onto the grid is getting the notice of traditional power generators, who are watching wholesale prices fall.

The financial research firm CreditSights noted that on the day of highest electrical demand this summer wind generation, typically lower in the summer, came in way above projections.

"While 2013 might have been an anomaly in the eyes of [Calpine] and NRG, we expect the wind situation to continue keeping … power prices down," wrote analyst Andy DeVries.
And all the signs say the growth in wind power is only going to continue.

Right now, wind farms within ERCOT’s border combine to create 10,570 megawatts of capacity.

But there has been a surge in interconnection agreements between ERCOT and wind operators, including many farms in the Panhandle, and the capacity is expected to reach 14,000 megawatts by the end of 2014, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

That comes as construction of coal and natural gas plants has come to a virtual standstill.

Long-term deals

Tom Carbone, president of Tri Global Energy in Dallas, which is about to begin construction on its first wind farm outside Lubbock, said obtaining financing for new wind farms had improved since last year when fears of an end to a crucial federal subsidy abounded.

And he said utilities, once wary of wind power, are now entering into 10- to 20-year purchase agreements.

"Utilities like wind because the cost is predictable. You’ve removed the volatility of the fuel price," Carbone said. "Before they were buying it to meet the various state goals, but most of those have been met or are almost met. Now they’re buying it because it’s cheap."

Follow James Osborne on Twitter at @osborneja.

Fair Use Notice
This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

Pedernales Electric Cooperative is working with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU) to offer PEC members low-interest loans to finance energy-efficiency or renewable energy projects.

The arrangement allows PEC members to qualify for membership in RBFCU, which is offering special Energy Saver Loans to Co-op members with interest rates starting at 3.9 percent APR for 24 months.

The loans are designed to promote energy-efficiency improvements in members’ residences or businesses and to help finance installation of renewable energy generation resources, such as solar and wind technology.

"By opening the door to credit union membership and a low-interest loan, Co-op members have another option to help finance the renewable energy and energy efficiency products that may help lower their day-to-day electric costs," said Michael Racis, PEC communications vice president.

“PEC members have expressed interest in loan programs, and ultimately the program could also help the Cooperative meet renewable energy and energy efficiency goals."
The Energy Saver Loans are subject to credit approval, and rates and terms will depend on the applicant’s credit rating and other factors. PEC members may be asked to provide a copy of a PEC statement to confirm they are Cooperative members.

The agreement is a unique example of “Cooperation among Cooperatives," one of seven Cooperative Principles that guide PEC and other independent, private and not-for-profit organizations owned by the members they serve. The member-owned RBFCU offers financial services and also has branch offices in areas served by PEC.

For details about the loan program, visit or contact RBFCU by visiting or calling (800) 580-3300.

In 2004, Texas Instruments embarked on an ambitious project to build the world’s first "green", LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) semiconductor manufacturing facility in an effort to reduce construction and operating costs and the company’s impact on the environment.

LEED labAfter collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Institute, months of research, careful planning and innovative design, construction of the company’s first high-efficiency, millionsquare-foot chip fab was initiated. The office building and the manufacturing facility were both awarded a Gold LEED Certification.

Although building "green" required some additional investment to realize long-term operating benefits, it added up to less than 1 percent of the construction budget. In addition, the plant was successfully built for an estimated 30 percent less in cost than a similar TI manufacturing plant constructed just 6 miles away only a few years
earlier. This latter achievement increased the building’s cost competitiveness among other semiconductor manufacturing facilities being built outside of the U.S.

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