sanfranSan Francisco, CA, USA -   - (METERING.COM) --- September 5, 2006 – It has long been the practice in California to offer large industrial companies an incentive to reduce electricity use during times of power shortages. Now a pilot program supported financially by the California Public Utilities Commission is making these incentives available to smaller businesses too.

The program, called the Demand Reserves Partnership Program, is offering small and midsize firms $8 per month during the summer for every kilowatt of energy they are able to save at times of peak demand. The non-profit group running the program, San Francisco Community Power, analyses a company’s electricity use, establishes the amount that could be cut during a power shortage, and provides a free digital meter to track usage.

When a power emergency is declared, San Francisco Community Power contacts participating businesses and instructs them to curb usage. The businesses receive an additional 5 cents per kilowatt for every hour they reduce power use. Any group that uses less than 200 kilowatts is eligible.

While the organizers acknowledge that the amount saved is relatively small, they say there could be a ripple effect if the program motivates business owners to take other energy-saving steps. “You’ve got to start somewhere,” said Severin Borrenstein, director of the UC Energy Institute.