Rebate used as conservation incentive |

Rebate used as conservation incentive

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Promising cash rebates, the California Public Utilities Commission has $550,000 set aside so Sierra Pacific Power can encourage its customers to be more energy efficient.

Sierra Pacific will dole out the cash in the form of rebates to customers who buy energy efficient appliances, compact fluorescent light bulbs and allow the recycling of old, energy-guzzling refrigerators.

Customers get a $30 cash rebate if they allow movers to come to their house and pick up old, functioning refrigerators.

“These are all new programs funded by the California state Legislature through the utilities commission,” said John Hargrove, senior program designer for Sierra Pacific Power.

Residents can call to schedule the pickup of a refrigerator but pickups do not begin until June.

To encourage use of more energy-efficient light bulbs, Sierra Pacific will be at the Mountain Hardware store in Truckee on June 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. so customers can trade in at no cost incandescent light bulbs, up to five, for more energy- efficient, compact fluorescent bulbs of the same wattage.

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Compact fluorescent light bulbs consume one-quarter the energy of an incandescent light bulb and last six to 10 times longer than a regular bulb. But the fluorescents cost more, from $4 to $12 a bulb versus 50 cents for a regular bulb.

The exchange program runs through July 31 or until funds are depleted.

“There will be more events at Lake Tahoe through the course of this year,” Hargrove said.

n Rebate coupons worth $5 will also be made available at retail stores for Sierra Power Pacific customers who opt to buy a fluorescent bulb instead of an incandescent bulb. Rebates of $10 will be available to residents who buy compact fluorescent light bulb fixtures. Compact fluorescent bulbs can be used in regular fixtures, Hargrove said.

n There will be $50 rebates available for lamps called torchieres. They are tall lamps that shine light created by high-powered halogen or quartz bulbs straight into a ceiling. “They are very energy intensive … flame throwers,” Hargrove said.

n Rebates are available for customers who heat their homes with electricity. Inspections are required before and after the work, but Sierra Pacific will give cash to customers who install attic or floor insulation or install insulated windows. The rebate is 25 cents per square foot for attic and floor insulation and $2 for a window upgrade.

n A $1,500 rebate is available for customers who replace their heating system with a geo-exchange heat pump. It acts as an air conditioning system as well as a heating system. The system is between 50 to 80 percent more efficient than a typical heating system, which costs between $5,000 and $7,000. A geo-exchange heat pump costs about $15,000.

n A $100 rebate for each verifiable kilowatt reduction is available to Sierra Pacific customers who own a small commercial business.

n The purchase of an energy-efficient appliance can also earn a rebate. If a customer buys a dishwasher affixed with a label that reads “Energy Star,” they can earn a $35 rebate.

Sierra Pacific Power has more than 44,000 commercial and residential customers in California. In Nevada, its parent company has more than 900,000 customers, said Gary Aldax, spokesman at Sierra Pacific.

A refrigerator rebate program is available for Nevada customers, too. Hargrove said the pickup program began in the state last month and 200 to 300 refrigerators have been picked up each week since then.

To find out more about the rebate program or to schedule a refrigerator pickup, call (877) 811-8700.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at