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New energy program will help people save money and time

Two of Minnesota’s largest electric and natural gas utilities are rolling out a new joint program that help multifamily building owners and tenants save money by lowering their energy bill. By streamlining and simplifying the process, Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy hope to create a one-stop approach to energy savings.

The joint program comes as the result of a decision by Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission earlier this year. Ben Passer, a policy associate at Fresh Energy who advocated for the joint program, sees it as a big win for Minnesota.

“Minnesota is a leader on energy issues because we are able to create smart policy that works for consumers and utilities alike,” Passer said. “We advocated for this program because it will help save people money by reducing their energy bills, but also because it will make the process of finding that savings much simpler overall.”

While many of the most common energy saving measures will likely stay the same – installing new CFL light bulbs and low flow showerheads, insulating water heaters, or more extensive renovations – the process will be much simpler. Rather than working with two different utilities about energy savings projects that may overlap or interact with each other, building owners and tenants will have a single point of contact and more flexible financing options.

“This program will help make things much easier for building owners and tenants,” added Passer. “Any program that can help make housing options more affordable and energy efficient is win-win.”

Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy opened the joint program on October 1 and hope to ramp up participation through the end of the year and into 2016.