Successful Practices in Combined Gas and Electric Utility Energy Efficiency Programs

Research Report U1406

Author(s)

Seth Nowak, Marty Kushler, and Patti Witte

Description:

Compared to single-fuel programs, combined natural gas and electric energy efficiency programs often deliver additional energy and dollar savings at lower cost to utilities and consumers. They also enhance customer satisfaction. Many leading dual-fuel programs demonstrate these benefits. This report presents successful examples of combined natural gas and electric programs—residential, commercial, and industrial—in every region of the country in which there are both types of programs.

Historically, electric and natural gas utilities have operated energy efficiency programs independently. State regulators have typically focused on each electric and gas utility as a separate entity. Challenges and barriers to creating combined and integrated programs include utility concerns about cross-fuel competition, the administrative effort involved, regulatory barriers and questions of program design and implementation.

Top-performing states in terms of utility program energy savings tend to have laws and regulations supporting combined programs. This report presents excerpts from statutes and regulations in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The authors share lessons learned and illustrate successful approaches within four institutional arrangements: combination utilities, integrated statewide programs, third-party administrators, and programs coordinated between separate utilities. ACEEE recommends that states adopt clear policies advancing integrated gas and electric programs, and that utility and other program administrators reaching for higher levels of cost-effective energy savings pursue these opportunities.

In-depth profiles of 16 programs describe program organization and structure, report on performance, address the motivations for collaboration, and share lessons learned.