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Cranberry works to trim township's electric bill

| Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016, 5:21 p.m.

When it comes to saving money on their electric bill, officials in Cranberry have discovered what many homeowners already know — every little bit helps.

And with a bill that last year approached $1 million, that help adds up pretty quickly.

Jason Dailey, director of public works for the township, outlined for supervisors recently what steps the township is taking to keep electric costs in line.

Dailey said last year, total electric costs for the township were $912,000. But that total reflected a reduction of 5 percent, or $47,000, achieved through a variety of rebate programs and efficiency incentives.

Thus far in 2016, Dailey said, total electrical costs are just under $504,000, but the township already has saved $61,000, a reduction of 12 percent.

Ironically, some of those savings have come from the township's single biggest consumer of electricity, the Brush Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility. Upgrades being made as part of a $46 million expansion of the plant have generated additional savings.

Dailey said additional savings have come through the township's voluntary participation in a load-shedding program in which the township agrees to limit electric use, or “go off the grid,” during certain peak demand periods.

The program is part of the state energy efficiency and conservation law — Act 129 of 2008.

The law set in motion a series of electricity-reducing requirements leading up to the five-year phase that began June 1, during which each utility needs to reduce overall use by about 3 percent and peak demand on the hottest days by nearly 2 percent.

Township Manager Jerry Andree said Dailey and his staff deserve credit for finding creative ways to control energy costs.

“When you look at our overall budget, those numbers might not seem like much,” Andree said. “But every dollar we can save makes a difference,” Andree said. Cranberry's 2016 budget is $19.5 million in expenditures for the general fund, and another $38.3 million for capital funds.

Vince Townley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-772-6364 or vtownley@tribweb.com.

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