Madison County reduces energy costs

Madison County saved more than $47,000 on energy costs this past year after switching electric providers.

“Our energy bill is down, which is a good thing,” County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler said. “We try not to forget this is the taxpayers’ money and we need to be careful with it.”

Facilities Director Rob Schmidt said the county switched electric providers in April 2019 and gained a net savings of $15,266 after paying a $32,520 termination fee with its previous provider. The actual cost for electric usage was $47,786 from June to November. 

“We estimate the overall annual savings for usage will be around $100,000,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said the county would continue to see more savings because the county replaced 12,608 lightbulbs with LED bulbs through Ameren Illinois’ Energy Efficiency Program at 15 of the county’s 26 facilities.

“We were able to do this at no cost to the county,” Schmidt said. “The remaining facilities use Southwestern Electric or are too small to participate in the energy program.”

He said the bulb replacement will save the county approximately $67,900 in annual energy costs. LEDs are one of the most energy-efficient types of lighting, using a fraction of power compared to other types of lights, Schmidt said.

LEDs have a longer life span, which reduces long-term maintenance.

“These lights will have a five-year warranty,” Schmidt said.

Four years ago, the county took part in Ameren’s program to replace its T12 bulbs with T8, which reduced the county’s electric bills. Lighting accounts for 20-50 percent of the average business' electricity consumption.

County Board member Clint Jones, who is also chair of the Facilities Committee, said the move to switch was a good one. 

“Mr. Schmidt has done a great job in finding ways to save the county money,” Jones said. “It’s not just a savings for the county, but for the taxpayer.”

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