"Energy Efficiency is at the heart of energy affordability." Tony Earley, Chairman, CEO and President of PG&E Corporation

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A Kilowatt-Hour Saved . . .

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By Jonathan Marshall

If Ben Franklin were alive today, he might coin the phrase, “a kilowatt-hour saved is a kilowatt-hour earned.” OK, maybe not—but across the United States, and most of all in California, electric utility customers are taking that concept to heart.

Energy-efficiency measures, such as high-tech light bulbs, continue to save energy and dollars.

According to a new report by the Edison Foundation, customer-funded energy efficiency programs in 2011 saved 107 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough to light up 9.3 million average American homes and spare the atmosphere 75 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Nearly half of those energy savings—just over 50 billion kilowatt-hours—were achieved by customers in the Western United States.

Learn more about the California model for energy efficiency

One fact really jumped out at me: California completely dominates the state rankings when it comes to investing in energy efficiency. In 2012, customers in the Golden States spent an estimated $1.5 billion on energy efficiency, well over twice the amount spent by the runner-up, New York ($700 million). In fact, California accounted for 22 percent of the nation’s total customer-funded energy efficiency spending.

Click here to stay informed about the California model for energy efficiency

As we reported recently, an independent study by E Source reported that PG&E’s programs saved customers almost 1.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2011, the most of any utility surveyed.

The good news is that other states are starting to wake up to what they’ve been missing all these years. Energy efficiency budgets more than doubled in 2012 in Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Six other states—Georgia, Illinois, Maine, North Dakota, Ohio, and Washington—saw budgets increase by more than 50 percent.

Email Jonathan Marshall at jonathan.marshall@pge.com.

This story originally appeared on pgecurrents.com.