ComEd Increases COVID-19 Bill Assistance
Top consumer smart energy news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
ComEd announced last week that it would add $9 million in financial assistance funding and extend payment plans to help Illinois customers struggling to pay electric bills. “The new programs being offered today extend our ongoing efforts to help customers get to a place of stability,” ComEd CEO Joe Dominguez said. “Even before the pandemic hit, ComEd provided customers with the support they needed and worked with community organizations to generate awareness amongst customers who need help the most.”
Residential consumers in the United States and Canada are more and more making the connection between smart energy technologies – including electric vehicles, smart home devices and energy-efficient products – and addressing climate change, according to the latest report from the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative. More than ever, the new research shows a strong influence of environmental concern on the interests, behaviors and motivations of energy consumers.
Meeting Los Angeles’ goal of reliable, 100-percent renewable electricity by 2045, or even 2035, is achievable with rapid deployment of wind, solar, storage and other renewable energy technologies this decade, according to a years-long analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Three years ago, “we teamed up with NREL to figure out exactly what it would take” to move even faster towards the city’s 100 percent renewable energy goal, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
Spurred by more than 2,000 Missouri residents signing up for the company’s Community Solar program, Ameren Missouri announced this week that it will begin building its largest ever solar facility this summer, a 6 MW project in Montgomery County. Work is expected to move quickly, beginning in summer but going online by the end of the year. Located an hour west of St. Louis, the new facility will be Ameren’s second site built as part of its Community Solar program.
Millions of U.S. households are facing heavy past-due utility bills, which have escalated in the year since the pandemic forced Americans hunkered down at home to consume more power. And now, government moratoriums that for months had barred utilities from turning off the power of their delinquent customers are starting to expire in most states. As result, up to 37 million customers — representing nearly one-third of all households — will soon have to reckon with their overdue power bills.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the BMW Group have expanded their ChargeForward partnership into phase three, continuing the effort to power electric vehicles with renewable energy and using any excess to support grid reliability. This latest phase has already begun enrollment, although the program itself will not launch until mid-April. It will run through March 2023. As part of the program, incentives are being offered to participating BMW EV drivers who are also PG&E residential customers.
Seattle City Light, along with other local government agencies, has released a plan to transition the city to a transportation system with lower greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution while increasing electric mobility options and creating a pipeline of clean energy jobs and workforce diversity. Along with Seattle City Light, the effort was co-led by the Office of Sustainability and Environment, the Seattle Department of Transportation, and the Office of Economic Development.
Household power consumption surged during the pandemic, but customer perceptions of utilities barely budged. That’s according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) Energy Utilities Report 2020-2021, which was released on Tuesday. Of the three categories the report measures, cooperative energy utilities remain the satisfaction leaders with an unchanged ACSI score of 73, followed closely by investor-owned energy utilities, steady at 72. Only municipal energy utilities decline, with a modest drop of 1.4 percent to 71.