In this file photo, Terry Weeks, a contractor with Sun Lighting, installs LED fixtures at the Merle’s Automotive Supply warehouse. The company’s energy-efficiency project was approved for a TEP rebate.

As business owners in Tucson, we look for every opportunity to reduce our operating expenses.

When we are more efficient, consumers see lower prices and better services. Guarding against price swings also gains the trust of our customers, which is key to operating a sustainable, long-term business.

We have found that one of the most effective ways to save money is through energy efficiency. It sounds simple — and it is. But it’s also something that gives us a great deal of control over how and when we consume energy. The bottom line is that these smart technologies, devices, appliances and building materials save money and reduce waste.

Unfortunately, funding for Tucson Electric Power’s energy efficiency programs this year was scaled back even though many customers were impacted by TEP’s recent rate increase. The results have been higher electric bills and lots of uncertainty when it comes to the cost of doing business.

This month, the Arizona Corporation Commission has an opportunity to make things right: TEP is largely in support of restoring funding for these critical programs. We’d argue the commission can take it a step further: They can and should increase funding for these programs.

Why should the commission increase funding for energy efficiency? Energy efficiency is a statewide concern — for all businesses, from global brands to mom-and-pop shops.

TEP’s and Arizona Public Service’s very own reports show that since 2010, energy-savings programs have delivered nearly $4 in benefits for every $1 invested by ratepayers. This means lower electric bills and more money in our pockets.

Energy efficiency also created more than 40,000 jobs for Arizonans in 2017.

And finally, energy efficiency reduces waste. Think that doesn’t matter? Energy savings means there is less demand, reducing the need to build costly power plants. It just makes sense.

We hope our elected utility regulators strongly consider what all of us already know: Energy efficiency programs have been incredibly effective — and all Arizonans benefit when we reduce energy waste.

We urge the Arizona Corporation Commission to restore and increase funding for these energy efficiency programs. Let’s make sure energy efficiency is put to work for our economy, creating jobs, and saving businesses and consumers money.

Amy and Doug Smith own Exo Roast Co. Paul Arvisu and Phineas Ravenwood are two of the owners of the Shot in the Dark Cafe.