Texas Utility to Nail Power Hogs with Penalties

Owners of offices, factories and other commercial and industrial property owners in Texas may see an unwelcome surprise in future electrical bills because of a new energy-efficiency program being implemented by TXU Electric Delivery, Dallas.

According to a recent report in the Dallas Business News, commercial property owners could soon be hit with stiff penalties for inefficient power systems. Last month, TXU Electric Delivery began installing new devices to measure power efficiency at its biggest customer locations -- typically industrial and large office facilities. If those meters show an efficiency rating under 95%, property owners will be assessed a power factor penalty, which could run tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a year.

The article cited fluorescent lights, electric motors and compressors as “chief culprits for inefficiency among big power users,” and said that adding very large capacitors -- devices that store and control the flow of electricity -- to the electric system can help a big power user get more efficient.

TXU Electric Delivery, the distribution operation formerly known as Oncor, is charging the fee because the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc., which manages the state electric grid, is looking for better efficiency -- closer to 95%. Approximately 6,000 of 200,000 big power users in TXU’s service areas are on the efficiency meter.

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