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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah is one of the most improved states in the country for efficient use of energy, according to a study by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
Utah and several other states saw larger investments in energy-saving programs by their utilities, as well as initiatives by state and local governments, said Michael Sciortino, one of the co-authors of the report.
The nonprofit ranked Utah at No. 12 -- up from No. 23 last year, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
"You have to give a lot of credit to the utilities that have stepped up, but you also have to recognize and give credit to state regulators whose approval was needed for those plans to move forward," he said.
Rocky Mountain Power spent $43 million in Utah in 2009 on its energy-efficiency programs, which resulted in savings of 228 million kilowatt-hours of electricity.
Conserve enough energy and utilities can reduce or delay the need to build additional power plants, which can save both the company and customers money, said Jeff Hymas, spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power.
Last year, Questar Gas spent $49 million, or around $54 per customer, on programs to encourage natural gas conservation. Those programs resulted in annual savings of around $114 million, or about $126 per customer through lower rates and other costs.
"Last year 229,000 of our customers received rebates, which represented savings of about 1.73 million decatherms. That is enough natural gas to heat and fuel 21,000 residential homes for a year," said spokesman Darren Shepherd.
Consumers also helped.
The Lexington Institute, an Arlington, Va.-based organization that promotes market-based solutions, noted that energy consumption in Utah fell 1 percent from 2003 through 2008, the latest year for which it had figures available.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)