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November 23, 2009

Consumers footing bill for Allegheny Energy’s cost-cutting program

CUMBERLAND — A consumer cost-saving initiative has begun by Allegheny Power in an effort to offset electricity costs, but all utility customers will foot the bill for the program through a $1.09 surcharge on their monthly bill.

Under Gov. Martin O’Malley’s EmPOWER Maryland initiative announced in July 2007, the state hopes to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015. To achieve that goal, the Maryland Energy Administration is encouraging residents to adopt the combination of energy savings that are most appropriate for their homes.

The program has prompted a mass mailing of 50,000 booklets by Allegheny Power to customers in Allegany and Garrett counties detailing numerous cost-saving measures available to consumers, according to Allegheny Energy spokesman Todd Myers. The brochure contains various rebate offers for purchases of energy-efficient equipment, including dishwashers, clothes washers, clothes dryers with moisture sensor, programmable thermostats, room air conditioners, central air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, heat pumps and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Other savings are available to consumers as part of the utility’s Watt-Watchers low-income performance program through home energy checkups and energy-efficient weatherization services. The program is open to customers with incomes up to 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Information is available at www.alleghenypower.com.

In addition, recycling rebates are being offered for old working air conditioners, refrigerators and freezers, and free pickup is offered. Recycling information is available at (877) 270-3521.

Allegheny Power is also encouraging its customers to recycle and dispose of thermostats and compact fluorescent lights in an environmentally conscious manner. Details are listed on the utility Web site in an effort to promote energy consumption, financial responsibility and energy independence. Additional information is available at the Maryland Department of Human Resources Office of Home Energy Programs Web site, www.dhr.state.md.us/ohep/index.php or call (800) 352-1446.

The various saving measures and offers are available to all 250,000 customers of Allegheny Power located throughout Maryland, including Washington and Frederick counties. The EmPOWER Maryland Initiative will be further publicized in those two counties in the coming weeks, Myers said.

The surcharge was approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission and will be reviewed annually for adjustment. All of the cost-savings measures offered to consumers were approved by the PSC.

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