The Association of Energy Services Professionals (www.aesp.org) recognized outstanding energy efficiency and demand side management programs at its 21st National Conference and Expo held January 17-20, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. “Energy efficiency and demand side management programs represent a growing, vital component of the energy industry,” said Meg Matt, AESP president and CEO. “These award recipients have demonstrated that they are taking leadership roles in moving the industry forward and driving users of energy toward smarter methods of consumption.” AESP presented awards in five categories. The winner in the Outstanding Achievement in Energy Program Design or Implementation (Residential) was Midwest Energy’s How$mart® program. This is the fourth national recognition for the How$mart® program in four years. Midwest Energy’s How$mart® program is designed to overcome the barriers preventing economical energy efficiency measures from being installed in small commercial and residential buildings. The program has key features including: no upfront capital required by the customer for economic measures; efficiency improvements are paid for through a surcharge on the utility bill; the surcharge must be less than estimated savings, and the surcharge is tied to the location. The program has nearly quadrupled the amount of energy audits that are completed yearly. “Midwest Energy is extremely excited to win the Outstanding Achievement Award from AESP,” said Michael J. Volker, director of regulatory and energy services. “For a company our size, serving less than 90,000 electric and natural gas customers in central and western Kansas, it is really an honor to be recognized nationally with this very prestigious award. We’re proud of our How$mart® Program and how it provides significant energy savings for our customers, lowers their monthly bills, and reduces the impact on the environment.” AESP is the leading organization of practitioners of energy efficiency in the country. Its membership includes 2,000 professionals from several diverse industries including every large utility in the country, consulting firms, technology manufacturing companies, and academic/policy members. Midwest Energy’s How$mart® program was recognized in 2008 as a Utility Best Practice by Chartwell. The Environmental Defense Fund named How$mart® as one of the 2009 “Environmental Innovations in Business.” In 2010, Midwest Energy received an “Ace Award for Outstanding Conservation & Stewardship” from Apogee Interactive for the How$mart® program.