Susquehanna Health has earned the largest custom incentive to date from PPL Electric Utilities for making energy-efficient improvements to help the health care system save energy and money. The $500,000 incentive will be used to reduce the utility expense in the current fiscal year.
In 2010, Susquehanna Health installed a 1,900-kilowatt combined heat and power system cogenerator unit at Williamsport Regional Medical Center, which saved more than 10 million kilowatt hours of electricity in 2011, Rita Spangler, vice president of Facility Development at Susquehanna Health, said.
The savings is roughly equivalent to the annual usage of 800 residential homes and equals almost $750,000.
Williamsport Regional Medical Center electrician Jack Corson explains how the cogenerator behind him to the right works to produce electricity for the facility.
The cogenerator cost $3.4 million, which will be made back in a few years from energy savings.
While saving money is important, Spangler said, having backup power sources is important in case of a power outage.
"When you run a hospital, you still can suffer from a power outage," she said. "Things happen. You need the power to keep people on life support."
By having multiple power sources, it ensures the patients in the building are safe.
Being energy efficient is important to Spangler and to Susquehanna Health, she said.
"The health system is taking green initiatives very seriously," Spangler said.
Anything that allows for "going green" will help reduce the health center's carbon footprint, but she said there needs to be a balance between energy savings and taking care of patients.
If there are any problems with the cogenerator, the computer will shut it down immediately so PPL can analyze it for problems, Jack Corson, an electrician at the medical center, said. One of the backup power sources then can take over to make sure the power does not stay off.
"It's a lot more inexpensive than (hiring) an electrician," Corson said.
Since the power sources are backed up, he said it really has worked out so far.
The $500,000 was part of the utility's E-power Custom Incentive Program for government, non-profit and institutional customers. The PPL program provides financial incentives for extensive energy-efficiency projects, retro-commissioning, equipment optimization, and operational and process improvements that result in cost-effective, measurable electrical energy savings but are not covered by other PPL Electric Utilities E-power energy-efficiency programs.
"Susquehanna Health's proactive approach to reducing electricity consumption should be applauded," said Scott Reilly, key account manager for PPL Electric Utilities. "By taking advantage of E-power programs, businesses and institutions like Susquehanna Health can offset the costs of their energy-saving investment and use less electricity. Put these two factors together and they can add up to significant savings."