Utility Programs Now Widely Available to Reduce Customer Energy Costs through Improved Natural Gas Efficiency

January 5, 2012

40 States Currently Running Programs


Washington, D.C.—High wintertime heating costs are a seasonal reality for households across much of the United States—anywhere with a cold winter climate. While homeowners can't change the weather, they can change their dwellings to keep the cold outside and use less energy to maintain comfortable conditions inside. Natural gas utilities have been instrumental in helping their customers manage and reduce their energy costs by providing programs that assist their customers with improving the energy efficiency of their homes. A new report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), A National Review of Natural Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, documents the rapid growth of these types of programs across the U.S.

Addressing space heating in households is not the only way that utility programs help their natural gas customers manage and reduce their energy costs. Businesses and industries use natural gas for a variety of purposes, and will also benefit from the programs offered by their utilities to increase energy efficiency within their operations and thereby reduce their utility costs.

"Natural gas energy efficiency programs have a long, proven record of success. They have not only helped individual customers manage energy costs, but their collective impact has resulted in a wide range of improved technologies and appliances," said Dan York, ACEEE Utilities Program Director and co-author of the report.

Nationwide the budgets for these programs reached $942 million in 2010, saving 529 million therms—enough natural gas to take care of the needs of 695,000 average American homes. These programs have experienced rapid growth. In 2005 total budgets were $125 million nationwide. Most states now have natural gas efficiency programs available; ACEEE found that 40 states have such programs in place. The trend is for continued growth and expansion of these programs, particularly in response to state policies that have set high savings goals for customer energy efficiency programs. These programs offer a variety of services to customers, including rebates and technical assistance.

"While natural gas prices are lower than they have been in recent history, investing in improved energy efficiency for natural gas technologies and applications still yields significant benefits for customers by reducing costs. This also helps provide a hedge against future price increases," said Marty Kushler, ACEEE Senior Fellow and co-author of the report. To read the report go to: /research-report/u121

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors.