Seattle City Light has an unexpected pot of money on its hands. The utility says it needs to give away $5 million before the end of the year.
The money is earmarked for businesses that want to become more energy-efficient. It will pay for up to 70 percent of the cost of new lighting, heating and cooling systems, or other energy-efficient equipment.
But even with the subsidy, businesses have been slow to sign on this year.
“I would say it’s the economy,” said Lori Moen, a manager in the Conservation Resources Division of Seattle City Light. “It’s always difficult to make the economic case to spend money, especially when times are tight. But the benefit to investing in energy efficiency is that it pays back.”
This year, City Light set aside a total of $22 million for the program. It’s paid for by City Light customers, and Moen said it helps the utility manage the growth of power usage.
She said the program saves about 75 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. That's about as much energy as would be used by 8,100 homes.