Championing Energy Efficiency
The Southern Company system continues to offer innovative, award-winning energy-efficiency programs.
- ENERGY STAR Pledge Leader, 2012 (Georgia Power)
- ENERGY STAR Excellence in Promotion Award 2007, 2008 and 2009 (Georgia Power)
- ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Energy Efficiency Program Delivery Award, 2010 (Georgia Power)
- ENERGY STAR Excellence in Housing Award, 2009, 2010 (Georgia Power)
In addition to these award-winning programs, the Southern Company system continues to promote the adoption of compact fluorescent lights through giveaways at special events and the safe disposal through recycling bins at local Home Depots.
Alabama Power is developing a customer web portal that enables customers to program their thermostats remotely and view their energy usage via the Internet.
Additionally, Alabama Power developed a Custom Energy Report Campaign that provides customers the opportunity to receive the results of energy audits online. The website provides energy-saving tips and provides the ability for customers to set personal savings goals, compare energy usage to similar homes, and to receive monthly monitoring reports on their energy usage versus their goals.
The Southern Company system is working to educate students and businesses on the benefits of energy efficiency through a variety of programs
- At Georgia Power contractors have been certified on building science through Building Performance Institute (BPI) training.
- Gulf Power and Mississippi Power have also been educating students, parents and teachers on the benefits of energy efficiency through innovative programs at middle schools.
- These programs reached over 50 schools in Gulf Power territory and over 3,700 students in Mississippi.
Demand Response Programs
Demand response programs consist of voluntary actions taken by customers for the purpose of adjusting the amount or timing of their energy consumption. Demand response helps reduce peak demand or avoid outages when system reliability is endangered. As such, demand response programs can be a more cost-effective and efficient alternative to adding generation capabilities to meet peak or occasional spikes in demand.
Demand response programs help balance supply and demand. Methods of engaging customers in demand response efforts include time-of-use pricing, critical peak pricing, real-time pricing and critical peak rebates. These pricing strategies provide a financial incentive for customers to shift their usage to off-peak periods. Also included are direct load control programs which allow operating companies to cycle air conditioners and water heaters on and off during periods of peak demand in exchange for the financial incentive of lower electric bills.
In conjunction with state regulators, Southern Company's traditional operating companies have developed a robust set of demand response programs that significantly exceed the national average for reduced demand. In 2013, our average reduction during summer peak usage was 6.2 percent versus the national average of 2.6 percent. SOURCE: U.S. Electric Information Administration (EIA)
Southern Company system programs have reduced peak demand for electricity by 3,925 megawatts. That's enough energy to power 925,000 homes (assuming 7kW/home average). More on annual carbon dioxide reductions »
The Southern Company system plans to spend $800 million on energy efficiency and demand control programs between now and 2020—programs that will reduce peak demand by an additional 800 megawatts. Programs include:
Energy Checkup home energy evaluation
Our energy experts help customers find improvements and low-cost ways to reduce energy use through free energy audits in person, online, or by mail.
We offer assistance to low-income families to permanently reduce energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.
Energy Select / SmartPower
We offer smart thermostats and programming to help customers save money and reduce energy demand during peak periods.
Geothermal heating and cooling
Geothermal heating and cooling has been labeled by the Department of Energy as the most energy efficient, environmentally friendly system available today. Incentives are being offered in some areas.
Solar thermal water heating
A pilot program with incentives that puts the sun to work is being offered in Florida.
Direct load control
We offer incentives for customers to grant us control of their heating and air conditioning units so we can cycle them on and off during peak-demand times and reduce peak electricity use.
The Southern Company system supports the EPA/Department of Energy program to reduce energy consumption and protect the environment through energy-efficient practices and products.
EarthCents Home certification will assure high-performance exceeding ENERGY STAR standards and state building codes.
We work with homebuilders to ensure construction includes optimal energy efficiency choices.
Smart Meters / Smart Grid
More than 4.4 million smart meters are in service. The meters are improving our ability to track outages, restore lines and stay safe.
Commercial / Industrial
Commercial geothermal heating and cooling
We offer incentives in some areas to help reduce the cost of geothermal heating and cooling systems, so our customers can save energy and money.
Real-time pricing reduces peak demand for electricity by giving commercial and industrial customers information on use and pricing.
High-volume businesses that can reduce electricity use for brief periods of time can reduce their monthly power costs and help us lower peak demand, delaying the need for additional generation. Managing demand during peak periods helps us keep electricity generation reliable and affordable.
Commercial construction programs
We're offering free expert help to contractors, architects and building owners on how they can build energy efficiency into their projects. The best time to go green is before the hammer hits the first nail.
- One of the founding members and on the board of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, which promotes energy efficiency in the Southeast and is a Founder-Level Associate member of the Alliance to Save Energy.
- Among more than 60 leading energy organizations that worked with EPA and Department of Energy to develop a National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency.
- Joined the Electric Power Research Institute's national energy efficiency initiative in 2007 to help develop smart appliances with energy management technology.
- Member of the Edison Foundation-Institute for Electric Efficiency, a group focused on advancing energy-efficiency and demand-response practices, ideas and experiences in the power business.
- "Diamond" member of the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium. This group seeks to expand awareness and use of geothermal heat pumps, which have the potential to use 25 percent to 40 percent less energy than traditional heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
- Participating as a co-sponsor of an energy-efficiency project with McKinsey & Company to determine the barriers to implementation of opportunities to capture EE.