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PNS Daily Newscast - October 20, 2020 

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Utility Companies Encouraged to Help Customers Become More Energy Efficient

June 1, 2009

Vermillion, SD – A former Iowa utility company manager whose community saved millions in power costs with high-performance energy makeovers will be in South Dakota today to explain how energy efficiency is good business for utilities and their customers. Glenn Cannon, the former manager of Waverly Light and Power, now heads the Clean Energy Ambassadors program for Plains Justice, a public-interest law center based in South Dakota and Iowa.

The former Waverly, Iowa, utility company manager helped achieve nearly $6 million in cost savings over a 17-year period. He says energy efficiency makes good economic sense, especially during a time of recession. And, he adds, utility companies are best positioned to help their customers use their energy wisely.

"Utilities have the skill and the knowledge to help customers sort through all the claims about what will and what won't work. For that reason, they can set standards, implement programs and provide credible advice to customers in a non-partisan way so energy users can make the best choice - not only for themselves, but for the utility."

Cannon says energy efficiency also minimizes the need for new power plants, which in turn reduces costs and pollution. He says utility companies are natural monopolies that have a moral obligation to help their customers.

"With that monopoly comes the responsibility for some stewardship of the environmental resources we have. Electric utilities are major producers of greenhouse-gas emissions and vast users of resources. We must be good stewards. That's part of my message: Stand up and accept that moral responsibility."

Waverly was the first municipal utility in the Midwest to own and operate a utility-scale wind turbine. Iowa now has more than $2.5 billion in wind-turbine developments up and running.

Cannon's free public presentation is tonight at the University of South Dakota Al Neuharth Media Center. It begins at 7 p.m.

David Law, Public News Service - SD