Denver. CO, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- March 3, 2008 – A bill that requires rural electric associations and municipally-owned utilities in the U.S. state of Colorado serving 5000 or more customers to create energy efficiency programs is attracting some criticism, with many holding the view that utilities are already investing in energy efficiency. The bill’s sponsor, though, says research shows that investment in energy efficiency programs for the 900,000 customers of REAs and Munis would save 1.5 billion kWh per year by 2020 – the equivalent of the electricity use of over 170,000 typical households in Colorado – and would avoid the need to build one large power plant by 2020.

Opponents of the bill say the increased expenditure on energy efficiency programs would increase electric tariffs, and point out that the state’s conservation measures are already in place and well regarded. Supporters point out that if users are able to reduce the amount of power they consume through energy efficiency measures, their bills are likely to decrease.

Meanwhile the House has passed another bill regulating the use of net metering in the state. Rural electric cooperatives will now need to accept and give credit for up 10 kilowatts of energy generated by residential customers, as well as 25 kilowatts from commercial and agricultural customers. The idea is to encourage both groups to install solar panels or wind turbines to generate power for their own use, and to sell excess power to the coops.