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Conservation Improvement Program

The Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) helps Minnesota households and businesses use electricity and natural gas more efficiently --conserving energy, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and lessening the need for new utility infrastructure. CIP is funded by ratepayers and administered by electricity and natural gas utilities.

The Next Generation Energy Act of 2007 (NGEA) established energy-saving goals for electric and gas utilities that operate in the state of Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources (DER) oversees CIP to ensure that ratepayer dollars are used effectively in achieving those goals and that energy savings are reported as accurately as possible.

Commerce also provides technical assistance and tools to help utilities identify conservation opportunities, calculate savings, and report program results. The Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) program funds projects to identify new energy-saving technologies, improve the effectiveness of existing energy conservation programs, and document carbon dioxide reductions. The Technical Reference Manual (TRM) provides algorithms used to calculate energy savings, and the Energy Savings Platform (ESP) provides a centralized forum in which to calculate program savings and submit plans and reports. 

Benefits of CIP include:

  • Improved awareness and adoption of energy-efficient technologies

  • Reduced energy costs for Minnesota households and businesses

  • Increased profitability for Minnesota companies and industries

  • Deferred costly utility infrastructure investments

  • Decreased carbon dioxide emissions

  • Conserved resources

Typical programs for residential customers include:

  • Energy audits, where a trained energy consultant examines your home and offers specific advice on energy improvements.

  • Rebates on high-efficiency heating, cooling, and water-heating appliances; CFL and LED lighting; and low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators 

  • Air-conditioner cycling programs, which allow the utility to manage its peak energy demand in return for discounted electric bills for participating customers