Everything you need to know about the decarbonization endorsement

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CT Barnes

What do you know about decarbonization? For Las Cruces Utilities customers, it’s a word you’re going to hear a lot about and it will change things for the better.

In approving the LCU natural gas rate increase, the City Council also directed the LCU Board to begin implementing the 15 cents per decatherm decarbonization covenant for all first year customers rather than spread it over three years. The natural gas use addendum will be used to fund an energy transition plan and to assess and implement energy efficiency measures in LCU’s gas service area. There are many buildings in Las Cruces that need improvement, as LCU Assistant Director of Business Services Jose Provencio pointed out, “We have structures in the city that were built a long time ago. 30, 40 or more years old, and the problem is that these structures have not had a lot of improvements in gas energy efficiency.

According to Provencio, the decarbonization addendum will come into effect in the fall of 2022, after the emergency raw material recovery surcharge ends in late summer.

“It will take at least two years before LCU customers start to see the benefits of decarbonization.”

The plan is to raise the funds, select a consultant who will guide the city utility in developing an energy transition plan, and identify efficiency programs that help LCU customers retrofit homes or businesses.

What does this mean for the average residential customer? The average LCU customer uses 72 decatherms per household per year. Using this figure, the $0.15 decarbonization rider will cost the average household $10.80 per year or $0.90 per month. Again, the addendum will come into effect in the fall of 2022, putting LCU on track to implement energy efficiency programs for natural gas in one to two years.

The money generated by the decarbonization addendum will be directly injected back into the community. Conservatively, LCU seeks to generate $500,000 annually, which will fund the creation of an energy transition plan that outlines responsible ways to transition from fossil fuels to renewables while addressing needs and financial impact about our community and our customers. The funds will also help customers become more energy efficient, with the installation of structural insulation and weather sealing, replacing aging gas appliances with new, more efficient, better insulated and pilotless ignition appliances.

The first step in reducing our carbon footprint is “first raising and securing the funds, then developing a master plan, then identifying cost-effective efficiency measures,” Provencio concluded.

LCU – Your utility connection. Customer Central can be reached at 575-541-2111 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides clean, safe and reliable services to Las Cruces residents and businesses. Learn more at las-cruces.org/180/Utilities. For emergencies, call the dispatcher at 575-526-0500.

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