Electricity bills don’t make for terribly exciting reading, but as boring as they may look, there is much more going on beneath the surface. Whereas the price most people pay for electricity remains steady from month to month, electricity costs can change dramatically from one hour to the next for the utilities that send the bills. For example, weather can cause demand to spike, raising prices as well, and suddenly the cost of the electricity is much different from the price we see on our bill.
The increased prevalence of distributed energy resources is driving changes to utility planning. Our new report, The Role of Energy Efficiency in a Distributed Energy Future, found that most utilities are not currently using energy efficiency in distribution system planning, but several states are pursuing new approaches to using efficiency to displace traditional distribution infrastructure upgrades and integrate more renewables into the grid.
A recent federal proposal puts a spotlight on an uncommonly popular topic: wholesale energy markets. Our new research shows that energy efficiency has provided steadily increasing value to grid operators and customers in two such markets. Our report, Energy Efficiency in Capacity Auctions: A Historical Review of Value, finds that since they have been included, efficiency resources have almost tripled in the Mid-Atlantic auction and almost quadrupled in a similar auction in New England.
Our first-ever scorecard of US utilities, released today, reveals striking regional differences and identifies the best — and worst — performers on energy efficiency. The 2017 Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard looks at the performance of the 51 largest electric utilities in the United States and highlights cutting-edge efforts. Topping the list are Eversource Massachusetts and National Grid Massachusetts, which both earned the same score.
What is your utility doing to promote energy efficiency? Could it be doing more? Find out in ACEEE’s first Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard, to be released on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Get excited about this first-of-its-kind, comprehensive look at utility-sector energy efficiency performance by joining our countdown to its release. Here are 10 things to look for:
Today, most American households pay for electric service via a two-part electric rate. This typically consists of a small, fixed customer charge ($ per month) and an energy rate applied per unit of electricity ($ per kilowatt hour). There are some variations on this model, including energy rates that vary based on time of day or total monthly consumption, but the basic structure of residential rates hasn’t changed much over time. In recent years, utilities have proposed significant departures to this format to address the changing dynamics of the electric utility industry.
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.
We tend to talk about energy savings in two ways. There is the total annual impact of savings, made up of layers of savings from programs implemented in the past but still saving energy today, and there are incremental savings, or savings attributed to new programs implemented in a given year. At ACEEE, we track incremental savings within our State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
Utilities have options when it comes to meeting customer demand for electricity. They can build power plants to convert fossil fuels to energy. They can capture renewable resources like solar and wind. And they can work with residents and businesses to lower demand by implementing energy efficiency programs.