News Releases

Washoe County School District, Sierra Pacific in Innovative Energy Conservation Program

Oct 14, 1997

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Robert Sagan/Karl Walquist
Phone: (775)834-4345

For Immediate Release

At a time when reduced operating costs are more critical than ever, the Washoe County School District (WCSD) and Sierra Pacific Power Co. have entered into a first-ever, joint pilot program to learn how the district?s schools use energy and how energy can be conserved.

The pilot will involve 12 Washoe County schools for one year, after which a report will be issued recommending cost effective energy conservation measures that will reduce the WCSD?s annual operating costs.

Project will provide energy education

This is the first use of a minute-by-minute, energy consumption information exchange between Sierra Pacific and one of its large customers. In addition to reducing costs, the project will educate students, administrative personnel and the schools? maintenance staffs to better understand how to use and conserve energy.

It may even be that monitoring energy consumption will allow schools to compete against each other in the future, with the winners being rewarded with computers or other incentives.

Utility, school district to be linked

The project will involve retrofitting schools with special metering equipment that will provide the meters, that will hook the schools and Sierra Pacific with a direct link to the schools? energy consumption data.

This special metering has a microprocessor-based device that works in the conventional fashion to collect billing information, but also performs sophisticated functions. That could include gathering customers? energy use profile information, performing special billing calculations, and detecting and recording power quality disturbances.

Several methods can be used to access data for the metered information. In addition to visually reading the displays, telephone/celluar, direct wire and optical digital communications can be used. The equipment, including special software developed by Sierra Pacific, will cost approximately $35,000, exclusive of the company?s labor costs.

"Not only will the school district be able to identify energy saving opportunities, but the program itself will not involve any capital outlay by the schools," said"Tex" Barrett, account manager for Sierra Pacific."The project will be financed using a special Sierra Pacific program, which will pay for the project over a period of time through shared savings. The district and Sierra Pacific have a long-standing relationship serving this community, and Sierra has a strong sense of responsibility to help the district, and all our customers, operate as efficiently as possible," Barrett concluded.

Energy information on the Intranet

It?s planned that WCSD will have the capability to interface the metering system with its energy management system, so that information can be viewed through the school district?s Intranet. WCSD would then be able to collect kilowatt demand information and other energy consumption data from each school on a on-going basis as it?s occurring.

Sierra Pacific will develop the necessary software and work with the school district to establish energy consumption data for each school, then assist the WCSD in establishing operating procedures and customer solutions to reduce electricity, gas and/or water consumption.

The utility?s long term goal is to serve and manage the school district?s on-going energy needs at a time when the electric utility industry in Nevada is gearing up for unprecedented competition.