Why let get rid of a perfectly good refrigerator when it can have a second life in the basement or garage? Since when is it wrong to be thrifty?

The answer is when that old fridge full of beer might be adding hundreds of dollars a year to your electric bill. And when combined with all the other antique fridges in the state, it could be creating an unnecessary demand on the state’s electrical generators.

The spare-fridge conundrum is one of the things that will have to be solved if the state is going to meet its energy-conservation goals. A program that will begin next fall will help homeowners move to more efficient equipment.

For both environmental and economic reasons, Maine is trying to reduce its need for electricity generated mostly from natural gas. This is the reason that the state and federal government are investing heavily in renewable energy sources, like onshore and offshore wind.

But the cheapest and cleanest power, by far, is the power that you never use. It’s much less expensive to reduce demand for energy than it is to generate it.

On the individual level, however, those savings don’t always seem to add up. People who like the convenience of an old fridge may not think of investing in a new appliance, even if it would pay off over time.

That’s why Efficiency Maine Trust’s plan to sweeten the deal with free removal and a rebate on a new fridge makes sense. Changing the equation just a little on an individual level could pay off in a big way for the whole state.


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