In the drive to improve the nation's energy efficiency and reduce demand for dirty coal and foreign oil, utilities around the country have implemented programs that reward their customers for saving electricity.
Problem is, as USA Today reports, businesses and individuals are cheating, pocketing millions of dollars every year by making bogus claims, gaming the system, or just playing by flawed rules.
Presidential candidates, Congress, and energy companies themselves, are talking about "decoupling" energy profits from energy production. In other words, policy makers are looking for ways to reward electricity companies for saving energy.
The boondoggle with energy efficiency programs shows how difficult creating a market for efficiency can be.
One sure thing: If you cut your own electricity use, regardless of any special programs offered by your utility, you will pay less than you would have running at full steam. That's an equation that will always make sense.
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