Sunday, February 24, 2008

Metering of Army Housing Energy Usage

The US Army News Service ran a story on February 20, 2008 (Army Realizes Energy Savings with Housing Privatization) stating that “Where Army housing has been privatized, the service has found energy usage has dropped by as much as 10 percent.”

Under the Residential Communities Initiative, some Soldiers are now getting “a statement each month that lets them know how much gas and electricity their families have consumed. Soldiers must pay out-of-pocket for the amount of energy their families use beyond a baseline,” which is an estimate of the amount of energy occupants in a home should use, based on such things as the size of the home, its age, the number of occupants and the season.

If the occupant meets this baseline he pays nothing. But if he/she exceeds the baseline beyond 5 percent he must pay for that extra energy. And if she/he ends up using less energy than what is expected he will get a rebate check.

The news piece reports that “all in all, about 66 percent are not paying or are getting a rebate.”

As of December 2007, there were homes at Fort Carson, Col.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Lewis, Wash.; Fort Meade, Md.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Belvoir, Va.; and Fort Irwin, Calif. that are being billed in this way for energy usage. In other soldiers get a statement each month letting them know how much energy they consumed, how much they went over the baseline and how much they might have owed for that over- consumption, apparently to let allow Soldiers time to adjust their energy usage habits and to get used to the idea of having to pay for over-consumption. Today, about 20 percent of Army privatized homes under this application (real billing and bills for your information, or “mock billing”).

My questions:

Who gets what at the end? Does the Army pay the privatization partners for the real amount of energy consumed or? How often the baseline rates are adjusted? If the aim is to reduce energy consumption, why to give rebates, which is a promotion or license to consume more in the following months?

How much money does the DoD spend for this effort compared to the monetary value of energy savings achieved?

Isn’t that a bit awkward that only 33% of electricity metered throughout the Department of Defense installations (see, DoD FEMR data sheet for FY2007)?

Why water usage is still not being metered?

Why the DoD does not say what percentage of energy reduction in buildings is actually due to privatization?

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