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Act On Energy Recognizes Small Business Innovation; Unveils $10.5 Million Business Energy Efficiency Initiative

MAHOMET, Ill., May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Ameren Illinois Act On Energy© initiative awarded energy efficiency incentives totaling $25,591 to the Mahomet IGA store for a $153,400 geothermal heat pump project.

At the same time, Act On Energy announced that a $10.5 million incentive budget will be available for business energy efficiency projects completed between June 1, 2010, through May 31, 2011. Applications are now being accepted. The program will help fund projects that are expected to produce annual electric energy savings of 115 million kilowatt-hours, an amount equal to the electricity used by about 10,600 homes.

"Mahomet IGA president Brooks Marsh and his team are proving that when applied wisely, energy efficiency not only can help small businesses survive but to thrive in the face of intense competition," said Cheryl A. Miller, Act On Energy business program manager. "What has been achieved in Mahomet will inspire other businesses to follow suit. The goal is to help businesses reduce expenses by using less energy."

The Mahomet IGA's geothermal heat pump system is allowing the store to achieve annual energy savings of 877,500 kilowatt-hours. This amount is equivalent to the electricity used by about 80 homes over an entire year.

"We needed to take greater control of our energy usage. The Act On Energy incentive payment made this project affordable," Marsh said. "This geothermal system is directly benefiting our customers because we have been able to lower prices. That is especially important for a small business like our IGA."

Since Act On Energy was launched in 2008, the amount of annual incentive dollars has grown from $3 million to $10.5 million. The energy efficiency program is funded through a small charge (Rider EDR) on customer bills. This charge is mandated by state law.

Beginning on June 1, Act On Energy is being expanded to include three new business programs. The first covers commercial kitchen equipment, including heating cabinets, freezers, griddles and steamers.

Another new program is aimed at grain and livestock farmers. Incentives are now available for lighting upgrades, livestock waterers and such high-efficiency equipment as circulation fans, water heaters and exhaust fans.

The third new program is designed for motels and hotels. This new lodging initiative provides incentives for guest room energy management systems, water heaters, lighting upgrades, high-efficiency ice makers, air conditioning and heating tune-ups and other measures.

In addition to these new business programs, Act On Energy continues to offer incentives for lighting, refrigeration, motor systems, HVAC systems, retro commissioning, multi-family buildings and E-Smart thermostats.

There also is the Small Business Online Store, small business commercial kitchens program, grocery/convenience store incentives and custom incentives.

"Our business customers can realize significant savings when they participate in our program," said Miller. "For example, replacing a standard T12 fluorescent light fixture with a high-efficiency T8 fluorescent fixture can reduce electricity consumption by 33 percent.

"Never has energy efficiency been more important. Act On Energy incentives are designed to help business customers reduce energy consumption, decrease energy costs, improve worker comfort and productivity and reduce carbon footprints."

Complete business program information is available at ActOnEnergy.com, by calling 1-866-800-0747 or by sending an e-mail to ActOnEnergyBusiness@ameren.com.

In addition to the business programs, Act On Energy offers incentives and rebates to residential customers. For more information on residential programs, visit ActOnEnergy.com, call 1-866-838-6918 or send an e-mail to: ActOnEnergyResidential@ameren.com.

Earlier this year, the Act On Energy program was honored by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), which awarded AIU with the "Inspiring Efficiency Innovation Award" for two programs. MEEA (www.mwalliance.org) is a collaborative network advancing energy efficiency in the Midwest to support sustainable economic development and environmental preservation.

Ameren Illinois (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) has been providing safe, reliable energy delivery service for more than a century. Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 813,000 natural gas customers in more than 1,200 communities within a 43,700-square-mile service territory throughout Downstate Illinois.

SOURCE Ameren Illinois Utilities