pnms-energyuse-010709 It's elementary, my dear Watt-son Libraries, Efficiency Maine hope to help solve energy-use whodunit

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SCARBOROUGH — Efficiency Maine’s “Kill A Watt” campaign, soon to be launched across the state in a series of detective “whodunit” advertisements, is designed to put a weapon in the hands of the people – user-friendly energy monitors that gauge the electricity consumed by household appliances.
By next Monday, more than 600 of the television clicker-sized devices will be placed in libraries, where they will be available, along with instructions, for checkout just like a book.
Tuesday morning, Maine Public Utilities Commission Chairman Sharon Reishus introduced the program at the Scarborough Public Library, where she was joined by Rep. Jon Hinck, D-Portland, co-chairman of the Legislature’s Utilities and Energy Committee; Sen. Lawrence Bliss, D-South Portland; Scarborough Democratic Rep. Peggy Pendleton; library President Nancy Crowell; Scarborough Community Chamber President Robert Nadeau; Town Manager Tom Hall and Town Councilor Carol Rancourt.
“We hear a lot of unhappy news these days about how energy use costs us money and does damage to the environment, too,” Reishus said. “So it’s refreshing to be able to offer Mainers something which in a very fun way will help them figure out what to do about it at their home or business.”
After the press conference, Dick Bacon of Efficiency Maine demonstrated the monitor. Once the device is plugged into an outlet, an appliance – anything from a phone charger to a freezer – is simply plugged into the monitor. After a short time, it calculates not only how much power is used, but how much it costs the consumer. From the demonstration, it was determined the library’s fish tank cost 75 cents per day to run.
The Scarborough Library was chosen as the location for the campaign’s introduction after Crowell suggested it to Efficiency Maine officials during efforts to help her implement “well-planned, cost-effective energy-saving measures” in the building, Reishus said.
“We have worked systematically to reduce our energy footprint,” Crowell said. “Following an energy audit of all municipal buildings by the Public Utilities Commission, we have added additional roof insulation, a new heating and ventilating system, new energy controls, new lighting and soon to begin new doors and windows.”
While those measures were big projects, savings can also be found in “small actions,” Crowell said. “We hope we can help members of our community identify the uses in their own homes that might be adjusted to ultimately save money and energy.”
To help more people reach that goal, Efficiency Maine will be notifying low-income residents and members of Maine Cool Communities and state chambers about the “Kill A Watt” monitors. They also plan a follow-up survey to determine the effectiveness of the program and the amount of potential savings identified by the devices.
“In 2008, Efficiency Maine helped the state save 107,517 megawatt hours of electricity,” Reishus said, “a 24 percent increase in sayings from 2007, worth an estimated $122.5 million in lifetime economic benefits to the state.”

Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or

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Roberts photo
Rep. Jon Hinck, D-Portland, who co-chairs the Legislature’s Utilities and Energy Committee, speaks at the Scarborough Public Library on Tuesday at the introduction of the “Kill A Watt” community outreach campaign, which announced the availability of 600 energy monitors through local libraries. Roberts photo

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Scarborough Public Library Director Nancy Crowell, who suggested the idea of making energy monitors available through local libraries, speaks Tuesday at the “Kill A Watt” program introduction in Scarborough.