IPC prepares USAG-HI for Energy Consumption Program

| June 2, 2011 | 0 Comments

Island Palm Communities
News Release

Island Palm Communities

Island Palm Communities

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii and Island Palm Communities hosted town hall meetings, May 23 and 24, to help answer questions about the Army’s Energy Consumption Program that will go live with utility billing next month.

Attendees received clarification on several program details, including how home profiles are determined, how baselines or monthly averages are calculated, what communities will begin live billing and when other communities will start, as well as when credits or bills will be issued.

To ensure the program is implemented fairly, USAG-HI will go live with utility billing in neighborhoods where homes are of equal standards.

All homes built after 2004 will begin live billing July 1, and residents will receive their first actual statement in August.

Families living in renovated and unrenovated homes will continue to receive consumption statements, but will not be credited or billed. Billing for these families will begin when all homes in the community have been renovated and brought up to the same standard, and a 120-day notice will be issued prior to the start of live billing.

Residents not sure if they are part of live billing can simply refer to the bottom of their energy consumption statement from ista — the billing agent — which will verify if they will go live or not in July.

During the meetings, residents asked questions about home profiles, specifically why the number of family members is not part of the criteria.

“The Army determines the criteria for profiles, and similar profiles are used at other Army installations,” said Tom Adams, director of property management, IPC.

He added that consumption is impacted more by the size and energy characteristics of the home. The habits of people in the home also impact energy consumption, such as how often people use air conditioners and other electronics, like entertainment equipment.  However, cooling and lighting a home, or turning on a TV, uses the same amount of energy, regardless of the number of people in a home.

Adams also reminded residents that the highest and lowest 10 percent of users are excluded from the baseline calculation.

“We’re removing families that fall into these categories, (and) removing unoccupied homes and partial billings that account for move-ins and move-outs, to minimize skewing the average consumption,” he explained.

Additionally, a buffer is established above and below the baseline. The Army authorizes a five-percent buffer above and below the baseline to account for slight variances in calculations. However, since Hawaii has one of the highest electricity rates in the nation, the garrison has requested a 10-percent buffer for IPC.

“Approval by the Army is still pending, but we are hopeful consent will be given in time for live billing,” Adams said.

High electricity rates in the islands were also taken into consideration when determining when a payment would be required, if a credit is due or a bill is owed. Army utility programs typically issue a credit or bill for a payment when the amount is $15 or more.

At IPC, credits or bills will be issued when the amount owed or rebated is $50 or more.

“A higher ‘trigger’ will cut down the amount of administrative work it takes to issue small credit amounts, and likewise, it benefits residents who are over the baseline,” Adams said. “They won’t have to write checks for small amounts every month.”

Families receiving significantly high-energy consumption statements can contact ista to have a home energy audit done.

Calculating the baseline

A baseline is the average energy consumption for a home, and USAG-HI uses a rolling baseline.

This means energy consumption from the current month is used to calculate the current month’s baseline, so the baseline will change monthly.

Once profiles are defined and homes are placed into a profile, a baseline is determined for each profile.

To calculate the current baseline per profile, IPC removed homes that are not occupied, have partial billing periods for move-ins and move-outs, or are the highest and lowest 10 percent of energy users.

Contact ista customer service at (800) 569-3014, email inquiries@ista-na.com or visit www.islandpalmcommunities.com. Go to “Resident Programs,” and click on “Utility Consumption Program.”

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Category: Community, Sustainability

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