Utility Regulation & Policy
Connecticut may be a small state, but in recent years it has become a big leader in energy efficiency. As one of only seven states with a formal goal of achieving all cost-effective energy efficiency, Connecticut has consistently ranked among the top ten in ACEEE’s annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
Electric energy efficiency programs have grown substantially in the last ten years. As they’ve grown, leaders have emerged. In our new report, Big Savers: Experiences and Recent History of Program Administrators Achieving High Levels of Energy Savings, we showcase 14 of these leaders. The report is not an exhaustive review of every leading utility or program administrator, nor is it a ranking system. Instead, we tell the story of these 14 through analysis of performance data and discussions with program managers.
California has long been an energy efficiency leader, topping ACEEE’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard from 2006–2010 and ranking #2 since then. But like many states, California would much prefer to be #1 and has been upping its game, achieving a “most improved” grade in our 2015 Scorecard and trailing the #1 state by only half a point.
October marks the release of the 9th edition of ACEEE’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, and we’re convinced it’s the best one yet. That’s because every year we refine our methodology, getting better and more specific data from states and adjusting our scoring criteria to reflect the changing landscape of energy efficiency. This year, we are making a few big changes, but you’ll still recognize the State Scorecard you’ve come to know.
On Wednesday, a group of Ohio policymakers released their recommendations to indefinitely freeze the state's clean energy and energy efficiency targets. Their misinformed recommendations, if implemented, would once again deliver a major setback to Ohio energy bill payers and the state's clean energy economy.
Energy efficiency has come a long way. From its roots in the energy crises of the 1970s, it has grown and evolved to become an integral part of our energy landscape. Examples of energy efficiency advances are ubiquitous and often invisible. We see the results of such advances in the slow growth of electricity demand in recent years. Our homes, offices, businesses, and factories continue to become more energy efficient due to innovation in technologies and applications.
Opponents of energy efficiency often make the claim that the only people who benefit from utility energy efficiency programs are program participants. Any energy efficiency improvements those participants are making, they argue, are simply being subsidized by non-participants. Our study finds that is not true; all utility system customers benefit from energy efficiency investment.
How to make the utility of the future an energy-efficient one: New ACEEE report series charts the course for aligning utility business models and energy efficiency
Utilities have traditionally earned profits by simply selling more energy and building more power plants and infrastructure, which put their financial motivations squarely at odds with the goal of greater energy efficiency. Luckily, that business model has started to change, which is good news for the nation’s economy, environment, and for consumers who want more options for saving energy in their homes and businesses. With the proper regulatory tools in place, utilities’ financial motivations can be aligned with energy efficiency outcomes.
There’s a flurry of activity surrounding energy savings goals in Pennsylvania, and what it will mean for energy efficiency will depend on decisions by both regulators and legislators. Pennsylvania first set energy savings goals in 2008, with its Act 129 legislation. The state is now at a key juncture, with the public utility commission (PUC) making a decision soon on the next round of targets.