As proposed by the Ameren Illinois Utilities, the natural gas energy efficiency plan will begin in January 2009.

The plan proposes incentives for residential customers to install high-efficiency furnaces, automatic programmable thermostats, water heater and hot water pipe insulation, wall insulation and low-emissivity double-pane windows. There will also be programs for low-income customers and incentives for apartment building owners and commercial customers that will help them improve energy efficiency.

By the end of the program’s first year, the Ameren Illinois Utilities estimate that the natural gas energy efficiency efforts will reduce natural gas usage by an amount sufficient to serve about 1,400 single family homes for a year.

The energy efficiency programs will be funded by a small Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved charge that will appear on customer bills. For a residential customer using 750 therms per year, this charge will average about $0.36 per month.