People come through in conserving energy

February 03, 2002 11:00 pm

People come through in conserving energy

First there was Californias botched efforts at energy deregulation. Then came the drought. Then came the power crunch. Then came a true test for Northwest electricity consumers.

Most electricity customers earned high marks in the test, and in doing so they contributed to the regions livability. Water, timber, the sun all are fine resources. But people continue to be the Northwests greatest resource.

If youre still doubting the power of individual initiative, consider these numbers: Residential customers of the Bonneville Power Administration, which supplies about 45 percent of the regions electricity, last year saved enough energy to supply 80,000 homes.

In the midst of the power crunch, government officials and even editorial writers encouraged citizens to find ways to save power. Some suggestions? Switching to efficient light bulbs and faucet heads. Turning down the thermostat a degree or two. Hanging out clothes to dry. Using a microwave instead of other cooking methods. Filling the dishwasher all the way before running the appliance.

In response, BPA residential customers got to work, conserving. Among other things the customers installed 5 million low-energy, fluorescent light bulbs.

The bigger message here? Big energy savings do not necessarily have to come from big industrial users. People, individual users in their homes, are a very important part of the environmental equation.

You only have to look at satellite pictures of earth to see that there are still many energy slobs. Many parts of the world are lit up like a Christmas tree. Some people argue for the western attitude of live-and-let-live. There are still people with the entitlement mentality. But energy is finite. We need to stretch what we have as far as it will go, and if that means building character through adversity, the power crunch provides such an opportunity.

Continued wise stewardship of the electricity resource is vital to the economy. Its a legacy we can pass along to our children in the form of stable supplies of energy into the future. Continuing to conserve even when the worst of the power crunch is over, looking for innovative approaches to save energy around the home and making the commitment to sacrifice for the good of yourself and community will help us maintain the quality of life that has made the Northwest famous.

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