Ratepayer-Funded Energy Efficiency

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INTRODUCTION

The Office of Electricity (OE) is committed to helping States that wish to change their electricity polices, laws, and regulations. We offer expertise on both supply-side, transmission and demand-side solutions. Demand-side solutions include energy efficiency that is delivered to electricity ratepayers. 

Expert technical assistance is provided to State officials on energy efficiency policies as they relate to electricity. State officials, and not the Federal government, are responsible for policies, oversight and regulation of retail electricity delivered, including energy efficiency.  OE’s State and Regional Assistance Program does not dictate to States, but rather helps those States that wish to change their policies.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO STATES

Technical assistance to States, particularly public utility commissions, is provided by experts at the Regulatory Assistance Project  and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and sometimes other experts hired for specific assistance.

Some of the assistance we provide concerns how to better design policies involving delivery of energy efficiency by electric utilities to their ratepayers. However, a number of States have chosen not to use utilities to deliver energy efficiency to ratepayers, but instead use non-utility “third-party administrators” (sometimes a State agency, sometimes a private non-utility firm).  CT, NY, VT, OR, NJ, HI and WI are some of these States, and LBNL experts  help States that wish to consider or implement third-party administration of efficiency.

One example of technical assistance to States can be seen in our work with the State of Hawaii. We are aiding them with their goal of obtaining 70 percent of its energy from clean sources by 2030. OE consultants provided expert electricity policy assistance to the State of Hawaii and others that helped produce an October 20, 2008 Energy Agreement signed by the State of Hawaii and the Hawaiian Electric Companies to accelerate the accomplishment of Hawaii's energy objectives in the regulated electric utility sector. 

In addition to LBNL and the Regulatory Assistance Project, OE uses groups such as the National Council, the National Council of State Legislatures, and the National Governors Association among others.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO REGIONS AND AT A NATIONAL LEVEL

STATE ENERGY EFFICIENCY ACTION NETWORK

The Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency have partnered to create the State Energy Efficiency Action Network, an initiative to help states achieve maximum cost effective energy efficiency improvements in homes, offices, buildings and industry by 2020.  The SEE Action Network succeeds the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (NAPEE), and will build upon the foundational work of NAPEE.

REGIONAL ASSISTANCE

Examples include seed grants to the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance  and the Regional Evaluation, Measurement and Verification Forum in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast States by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership.

The Mid-Atlantic Distributed Resources Initiative (MADRI), a regional policy coordination and discussion forum among State Public Utility Commissions for which OE supplies facilitation services, includes energy efficiency in addition to smart grid, demand response, and distributed generation topics.

The Western Governors’ Association’s Committee on Regional Electric Power Coordination asked OE’s experts at LBNL to examine how energy efficiency is treated in Western Utilities integrated resource plans. The result is that, on average, the Plans showed about half of future electric load growth to be met by energy efficiency.

EPACT SECTION 139 REPORT TO CONGRESS

Section 139 Report to Congress , required by EPAct 2005, was prepared by OE. The report makes recommendations for State and regional policies that promote energy efficiency programs carried out by electric and gas utilities. The results state that State and regional policies should capitalize on the opportunities to use low-cost energy efficiency, as delivered by electric and gas utilities with allied organizations, as a means to meet growing energy demands and enhance system reliability. The report also makes 10 recommendations for State and regional policies that could increase delivery of energy efficiency by electric and gas utilities and allied groups.