This week, the Inyo County Supervisors approved support of the High Sierra Energy Initiative, a joint Edison and Eastern Sierra Council of Governments effort to promote energy efficiency.
With power rates for Edison customers expected to jump 25-30% this winter, Supervisor Linda Arcularius called this a timely subject.
Rick Phelps with the High Sierra Energy Foundation explained that the idea of the energy initiative was to give people on the ground advice on how to save energy, whether its compact fluorescent light bulbs, or a new refrigerator. The High Sierra Energy Foundation has been working to reduce energy use in Mammoth since 2005. Rick Phelps told the Inyo Supervisors that in terms of money, the Mammoth area is now saving $125,000 a year on energy bills.
With the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a representative from Edison told the board that the best way to reduce greenhouse gases is to conserve energy.
Supervisor Jim Bilyeu expressed concerns with mercury in the new compact florescent light bulbs. Phelps explained that the amount of mercury in a compact florescent is smaller then the tip of a pen, and that the reduced amount of electricity used means less mercury pumped into the air from power generation.
In the end the Inyo Supervisors voted 5-0 to support these energy reduction efforts in the Eastern Sierra. The estimated cost to the county was listed at three hours of staff time a month to attend the monthly energy initiative meetings.