Utility Regulation & Policy
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.
Who knew an “and” could unravel everything? In Maine, we’re seeing just how much damage three missing letters can do.
Here at ACEEE we are big fans of combined heat and power (CHP). It’s energy efficient, it helps with resiliency, and it could be a key strategy for complying with carbon pollution reduction requirements.
Some utilities are rushing to raise fixed charges. That would be bad for the economy and your utility bill
Slow growth in electricity demand (or, in some places, flat or declining sales) and growing numbers of customer photovoltaic systems are creating concern among utilities about their ability to adequately recover the costs associated with producing electricity. In response, there has been a disturbing trend around the country of utilities proposing to simply raise monthly “fixed charges,” or the charges we pay to the utility just for being a customer.
ACEEE’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard was released last month. You may have seen the rankings, but did you know that combined heat and power (CHP) has its own chapter? We’ve been publishing the Scorecard since 2007. Each year, we’ve seen the policy landscape change, and we’ve refined the metrics to quantify state progress in each policy area to make sure they keep pace with current trends. The CHP chapter is no exception.
Voters made many decisions on Election Day. Governors were chosen and new laws were adopted. But one choice Arizona voters didn’t get to make may raise utility costs for families and businesses in the state.
Let’s have a conversation about water and energy. We know that the two resources are connected: We need water to produce electricity, mostly for thermal power plants (though we are going to put that aside today). We need energy to pump water out of the ground, treat it so it is potable, and then re-treat it after we use it to shower or wash clothes. We also need energy to heat water in our homes, businesses, and industrial facilities.
Massachusetts Tops California as Most Energy-Efficient State, while Arkansas, D.C., Kentucky, and Wisconsin are Most Improved
Top 10 States are MA, CA, RI, OR, VT, CT, NY, WA, MD, and MN; 5 States Most in Need of Improvement are ND, WY, SD, MS, and AK
Washington, D.C.—Governors and lawmakers in state capitals across the nation continue to take major steps to lower energy costs, reduce pollution, and save consumers money by increasing their states’ energy efficiency, according to the findings of the 8th edition of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
We spend a lot of time here at ACEEE with numbers. We calculate energy savings, efficiency investments, and jobs. Even with all this data at our fingertips, though, I’m always most curious to see the numbers we produce every fall in the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. This will be the eighth year we’ve ranked states on their adoption of policies that encourage energy efficiency, and while some results are easy to predict, there are always a few surprises.