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Published: Tuesday, 10/9/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Energy upgrades net rebates for Toledo


Energy improvements the city of Toledo made four years ago at its aging sewer plant in North Toledo netted $78,000, paid this year, in rebates from FirstEnergy Corp.

The Bell administration is hoping to cash in on another $250,000 the same way with improvements made the past four years at multiple other city facilities.

“The 2008 rebates were based on replacements that we needed to do out of operational necessity, such as replacing pumps that stopped working,” said city spokesman Jen Sorgenfrei. “Since that time, we have done more proactive maintenance, like boiler replacement, new lighting, and new windows that will make other facilities much more efficient.”

Plug Smart, a Columbus-based company hired by the Bell administration, created the city’s rebate application.

"Plug Smart will receive a 30 percent recovery fee from the $78,000, so the city retains $55,000 and going forward as we evaluate rebates available for 2009 through 2012, their fee will be reduced to 20 percent,” Ms. Sorfgenfrei said.

The Bell administration has slowly been trying to convert its energy hog buildings into more efficient operations.

Last year, the city undertook a $2.7 million plan to start making energy improvements for certain buildings. The project included lighting improvements to 10 fire stations, the Toledo Municipal Court, the Safety Building, the fire equipment maintenance building, the fire airport training center; the Collins Park water treatment plant, and the Environmental Services building near downtown.

The money for the “Better Buildings Northwest Ohio” program came from the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, which received a $15 million federal grant. The port was required to match that grant money 5-1.

Tim Murphy, the city’s commissioner of environmental services, at the time said the “payback” from the investments would be less than eight years — but that did not include the rebates.

The improvements are being financed over 15 years and energy savings from the improvements began last year.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.

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