Massachusetts has an impressive record of investing in energy efficiency and saving home-owners and businesses money on energy bills. Electricity and natural gas programs produced an estimated $3.14 billion in benefits in 2014 alone, and $11.4 in benefits since the programs began in 2010 (Press Release: MA Energy Efficiency Benefits Top National Bests for Savings ; MA Energy Efficiency Benefits Factsheet). Now, work is underway on the state plans that can ensure that this leadership continues to provide even more benefits to ratepayers.
Under the Massachusetts Green Communities Act (GCA), the state gas and electric utilities (Program Administrators) are charged with creating plans to acquire all available energy efficiency and demand reduction resources that are cost-effective, or less expensive than supply. These plans are prepared in coordination with the state’s Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (Council) which is made up of fifteen representatives of stakeholder groups and includes residential customers, low-income customers, large commercial and industrial users, manufacturers, and non-profits, as well as state agencies. Acadia Center is the representative of the environmental community.
The Council recently issued a Resolution setting out its priorities and recommendations for the 2016-2018 state plans. It also reiterated that the emission reduction targets established by the Global Warming Solutions Act and the state’s Clean Energy and Climate Plan–which implements the Act—require a key role for energy efficiency and demand reduction programs. The Council has high expectations for the development of a third well balanced, cost-effective, robust, and innovative statewide electric and natural gas plan. The Council expects the forthcoming energy efficiency programs to accomplish the following:
- Achieve all cost effective energy efficiency and demand reduction in accordance with the GCA;
- Align with the greenhouse gas reduction targets of the Global Warming Solutions Act and Clean Energy and Climate Plan;
- Deliver consistent and equitable service to all segments of businesses and residents statewide;
- Prioritize lifetime savings and benefits;
- Produce electric demand savings in order to significantly mitigate peak demand costs to the electric sector;
- Achieve data transparency and enable robust planning and analysis through a comprehensive statewide database;
- Effectively communicate to ratepayers information about program and initiative effectiveness, and progress;
- Continue to improve the cost efficiency of program delivery.
Acadia Center—as a member of the Council—will be reviewing the draft Three-Year Plans when the Program Administrators submit them on April 30th. After June stakeholder workshops, the Council and Program Administrators will coordinate on plan revisions. Plans will be filed with the Department of Public Utilities by October 31st and be finalized and under implementation starting January 2016.
The Massachusetts EEAC Resolution is available in final form here: http://ma-eeac.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/EEAC-Resolution-Priorities-for-2016-2018-Three-Year-Efficiency-Plans.pdf