New Study Describes How Energy Efficiency Programs Helped Avert Electricity Crises in 2001

May 9, 2002

Media Contact(s):

Martin Kushler, 248-579-6445, Senior Fellow

Washington, D.C. — Energy efficiency programs played a crucial role in helping to respond to electric system reliability concerns last year, according to a new study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

This national study identified a number of states that had special "reliability-focused energy efficiency programs" in operation during 2001. In just three key areas where reliability problems were most significant (California, New York, and the Pacific Northwest), energy efficiency and conservation efforts reduced peak demand by over 4,300 megawatts (MW)—equivalent to approximately 15 medium-sized power plants.

"It's not an exaggeration to say that strong energy efficiency and conservation efforts by citizens and businesses helped keep the lights on in several areas last summer," stated Martin Kushler, ACEEE's Utilities Program Director and manager of the study. "I expect that more states will want to incorporate these types of programs in the future."

Steve Nadel, ACEEE's Executive Director, commented: "We've always known that energy efficiency saves customers money on their utility bills and helps reduce air pollution. This study shows that energy efficiency can help make the electric system more reliable as well."

"Unfortunately, thus far the leading federal energy policy proposals this year have been silent on this important electric energy resource," added Nadel. "We hope that federal policies will be enacted to support these valuable energy efficiency programs as part of our national energy strategy."

From this study ACEEE produced a new report, Energy Efficiency and Electric System Reliability: A Look at Reliability-Focused Energy Efficiency Programs Used to Help Address the Electricity Crisis of 2001. The main text is available online for free at Printed copies, which incorporate the main text plus three appendices (including one with "case study" descriptions of 22 different reliability-focused energy efficiency programs from around the country) can be ordered for $35.00 (plus $5.00 shipping and handling) fromACEEE Publications, 529 14th Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045, phone: 202-507-4000, fax: 202-429-2248, e-mail: