News Releases

Nevada Sure Bet Program Saves Energy for Northern Nevada

Nov 7, 2005

A total of 88 businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations in northern Nevada are reducing their power bills through a utility-sponsored program that rewards commercial electricity users for being more energy efficient.

In 2005, commercial electric customers participating in the Nevada Sure Bet Program will earn approximately $400,000 in rebates from Sierra Pacific Power Company for installing energy efficient lights, motors and heating and cooling equipment and controls. The improvements are expected to save up to 17.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually for the participants and to reduce the utility's peak electric demand by approximately 2,900 kilowatts, or enough electricity for about 1,800 homes.

Rebates range from less than a $100 to a maximum of $10,000.

“The program is fully subscribed for 2005. However, we are inviting businesses to submit applications so they can be ready to go for 2006,” said John Hargrove, energy efficiency and conservation manager for Sierra Pacific. “All commercial customers are eligible.”

Among customers in northern Nevada taking advantage of the 2005 Nevada Sure Bet Program are retail businesses, hotel-casinos, grocery stores, schools, churches, and government and nonprofit agencies.

Technical experts work with the customers to see how they can retrofit their facilities with energy efficient lights and other equipment, and help them determine the cost-effectiveness of the improvements so they can decide whether to invest the dollars, Hargrove explained.

Thus far, 38 customers have completed their 2005 Nevada Sure Bet retrofit projects.

Sure Bet Reduces Electric Bills

Kennametal Inc. processes tungsten carbide for use in drills and other tools. The company recently replaced the metal halide lights at its refining operation north of Fallon with energy efficient T5 fluorescent lights. Bob Oakden, electrical department foreman for Kennametal, said the new lights should reduce the company's annual electricity usage by nearly 96,800 kilowatt hours.

“It's a considerable savings in electricity; we figure close to $10,000 per year,” Oakden said. “Actually, the fluorescent lights are whiter and brighter than the metal halide lights. Although they are about 20 feet above the floor, they really light up the place.”

MSC Industrial Supply, one of the nation's largest marketers of industrial supplies and equipment, also replaced the metal halide lights at its Fernley distribution center with T5 fluorescents. The company expects to save up to 354,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually with the new lights.

“Anytime you can drive costs out of a business, which will affect the end user of your products, that's a positive,” said Distribution Center Manager John Tegins.

To reduce its energy bill, Carson City High School retrofitted two gymnasiums with fluorescent lights.

According to Mike Mitchell, director of operations for the Carson City School District , the lights will reduce the school district's annual electric bill by about $4,000, and should pay for themselves in about four years.

“It is a better quality of light and we're a lot happier with the energy efficiency of the T5 lamps,” Mitchell said, noting that the old lights required several minutes to warm up while the fluorescents come on instantly.

Not all the Sure Bet projects are lighting improvements.

The City of Sparks Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility along the Truckee River applied its $10,000 rebate toward the cost of upgrading the aeration system that introduces oxygen into wastewater to help breakdown organic pollutants. Aeration tanks at the facility add microbes to effluent to decompose organic materials in wastewater, and oxygen must be pumped into the tanks to help the microbes complete their work.

By converting to a new, more energy efficient aeration system, the TMWRF was able to eliminate twelve 60 horsepower pumps, according to Wastewater Plant Operator Gary Hutchinson. The annual energy savings from the project is expected to be approximately 1 million kilowatt hours or about $80,000.

The wastewater treatment agency said it's pleased with the operation of the new system and that it should provide additional plant treatment capacity, which is expected to defer the need for future expansion.

Facilities managers at the Fallon Naval Air Station have retrofitted 67 vending machines on the Navy base with infrared sensors that switch the machines on only when they're in use, and timers that switch off refrigeration equipment at night. Hargrove said the retrofitted “Vending Miser” gear will reduce the base's annual electricity use by approximately 80,400 kilowatt hours, reducing the Navy's yearly power bill by about $7,638.

The Nevada Sure Bet program offered by Sierra Pacific is managed by KEMA, Inc., an international energy consulting firm. For more information about the program, visitwww.nevadasurebet.comor call (800) 342-6335.

For information about Sierra Pacific's energy conservation programs for residential customers, visit

contact: Karl Walquist, SPPC
(775) 834-3891 or