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Cash savings 

by Pia K. Hansen

The new electrical buy-back program credits consumers with 5 cents per kilowatt hour (Kwh) saved, above an initial saving of at least 5 percent, compared to the same time last year.

It has already paid out $133,681.10 to Washington and Idaho power consumers -- this number includes industrial clients, however.

While industrial users may see more savings and rebates, many residential customers won't see a large return.

Let's say last year in April you were billed 450 Kwh at 5 cents a pop, for a total of $22.50. In order to get any money back at all, you must first reduce that bill by 22.5 kilowatt hours (or 5 percent).

This year, the meter came out at 410 kilowatt hours. You saved 40 kilowatt hours -- or 8.9 percent. For every kilowatt hour over the initial 5 percent reduction, you'll get 5 cents back. In this case, you'll get 5 cents per 17.5 kilowatt hours, or 88 & cent; back. But you should also add the price of the 40 kilowatt hours you didn't use -- that is another $2.

So your total savings would be $2.88 -- or just about enough for a 14 oz. latte every month. Of course use may go up in summer, so you could save more during months other than April.

Residential consumers, individually, don't usually use a lot of power in the first place. But overall, the combined residential use is enormous, so if Avista can get everyone to save just a little, it will add up to being a lot. Avista says you can save 5 percent without much effort -- by replacing traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights or just by turning off lights and turning the air conditioner to 78 degrees during the summer.

Avista's residential consumer hot line can offer

even more ideas at (800) 227-9187.
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