Conserving power to become more lucrative

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Universities, industries and government agencies will soon receive bigger financial rewards for conserving electricity.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Sunday ( ) that the regional power management group PJM plans to boost payments to organizations that voluntarily conserve as coal-fired power plants close over the next several years.

Maximum payouts are expected to increase by 33 percent by 2017.

PJM Vice President Stu Bresler says the more customers reduce or shift their demand, the less need there will be for building new plants.

Stricter federal environmental laws are resulting in closures or planned closures of coal plants that will cut 10 percent of the generating capacity of PJM, which serves all or parts of 13 states. Officials say aggressive conservation will fill only about one-third of that gap.

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