Many natural gas and electric utilities serve the communities that are competing in this multi-year energy efficiency prize. Here you will find stories of successful programs that utilities have implemented to help customers make smart energy choices, make efficiency improvements, and save energy and money throughout the year. These summaries showcase innovative, scalable, and replicable programs that achieve significant energy savings over the long run.
Many utilities have long-running energy efficiency programs. In 2013 they invested $1.14 Billion in 112 rate-payer funded natural gas efficiency programs operating in 39 states. These programs yield significant energy and cost savings: In 2013 they helped customers save 151 trillion Btu of energy, which offset 7.9 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. Through these programs, participating residences saved an average $138 on their annual energy bills.
Utilities offer customers a wide range of innovative and cost-effective efficiency programs. These include:
- Energy education, online tools and energy usage dashboards
- Low to no-cost weatherization service for low income customers
- Cash rebates for higher efficiency equipment and for whole house/business efficiency upgrades
- Efficiency loans
- Partnerships with stakeholders along the product supply chain
- Training and certification, vetted contractor networks, and job creation programs
- Creative customer engagement and smart energy choice empowerment programs.
Utilities are able to offer such programs, with the support of their state regulatory commission. Utilities work closely with regulators to develop cost-effective efficiency programs that build sustainable value for their business and their customers. In parallel, they develop progressive policies and innovate rate designs which are compatible with efficiency goals and which align utility interests with energy efficiency goals. These more recent rate designs break away from the traditional utility rates, where fixed cost recovery is tied to the amount of gas a utility delivers. Non-volumetric rates and other regulator incentives allow the utility to help customers save energy with the following mechanisms:
- Recovery of direct program costs (in 37 states)
- Non-volumetric rate mechanisms that allow utilities to recoup lost margins associated with efficiency program implementation (in 29 states)
- Bonuses, that are typically shared by customers and shareholders, based on meeting specific efficiency program targets (18 states)
Such policies stabilize utility financial performance, enable utilities to promote conservation, and place efficiency investments on a more equal footing with other utility investments.
Please see below for download links for the complete program summaries. Special thanks to the American Gas Association (AGA) for compiling these summaries. In addition, you may watch an archived webinar lead by the AGA and the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) featuring natural gas and electric utilities discussing their programs. Click here for the webinar.
- Community Engagement – Sustainable vision, innovative and intentional outreach, and well-defined goals.
- Cascade Natural Gas Community Energy Efficiency Program Partnership
- Minnesota Energy Resources Community Energy Services
- Vectren Energy EnergyMobile and Monroe County Community Challenge
- Philadelphia Gas Works EnergySense Home Assessments and Comprehensive Rebates
- Ameren Illinois Urbana Partnership Program Home Energy Performance & ActOnEnergy
- Empowering Consumer Choice – Tools and social-science insights that foster conservation and efficiency.
- Financing Mechanisms – Loans, on-bill repayment and grants.
- Green Buttons and Dashboards – Customer resources, online tools and applications, energy information and usage feedback.
- Grow Markets – Engage new customer targets and deliver new goods and services.
- K-12 Education – Energy awareness, lessons, training, tracking and building retrofits.
- Low-Income – Free building kits, home retrofits and crisis prevention.
- Professional Development – Certification and training for technicians, contractors and realtors.