Chipotle Will Install Solar Panels Everywhere But Houston

Hair Balls is always worrying about reducing our carbon footprint -- in fact, we're constantly using aerosol-spray cleansers and dusters to reduce it like a mofo -- which is why we were stunned to learn in the Houston Business Journal that beloved burrito builders Chipotle Mexican Grill will be installing solar panels in about 75 stores throughout Texas....but not in Houston! (And they're even teaming up with Houston-based Standard Renewable Energy to do so.)

Unlike Encore in Dallas and CPS in San Antonio, CenterPoint Energy wouldn't provide rebates for the installations, SRE spokeswoman Kelley Wright told Hair Balls. Which can only mean one thing: Centerpoint wants the polar bears to die, right?

WRONG! Turns out the public wants the polar bears to die. And by "public," we mean the "Public Utility Commission."

Jarret Simon, CenterPoint's energy conservation honcho, told Hair Balls that, as a regulated utility, CenterPoint must adhere to PUC guidelines regarding rebates. Because Encore and CPS are not regulated, they can create their own programs, Simon said (heh).

It would've been awesome if Chipotle said "screw it, we're going to do this in Houston anyway," but we understand that you've got to protect your bottom line before you can protect the environment. But hey -- at least they're doing something.

 According to a Chipotle press release, "the intent...is to reduce the restaurants' traditional energy consumption during peak hours for energy use (from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) when pressure on the energy grid is greatest. The amount of power produced through the solar program will eliminate more than 41 million pounds of CO2 emissions." (The press release also claims that Chipotle is "leading the restaurant industry in sustainability," which, to borrow a cliche, sorta smacks of "world's tallest midget.")

Now excuse us while we go turn on a bunch of lights and eat a burrito.

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