PROVIDENCE, RI – On October 30, 2014, the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved the 2015-2017 Energy Efficiency Program Plan for the Rhode Island. The plan features goals and strategies for saving energy and reducing bills that will allow Rhode Island to provide low-cost, clean energy to homes and businesses. The three-year energy efficiency plan was developed collaboratively by key stakeholders representing a wide range of consumer and environmental interests, including Acadia Center,** the Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council, the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, the Office of Energy Resources, The Energy Council of Rhode Island, Consumers’ Energy Alliance, and National Grid.
“Energy efficiency is a powerful tool to help chart Rhode Island’s pathway to a sustainable economy and clean energy future,” said Acadia Center President Dan Sosland.
Last week the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy announced that Rhode Island earned a 3rd place ranking in the annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The Scorecard ranks states in six energy saving categories; in the category for utility energy efficiency programs and policies, Rhode Island tied for 1st with Massachusetts.
“The RI PUC’s approval of the plan is a big win for Rhode Island’s environment, economy, and energy consumers, because it means that energy dollars will go toward cost-effective programs and help customers save, instead of being sent out of state to pay for expensive and polluting energy supply,” said Acadia Center Rhode Island Director Abigail Anthony. Dr. Anthony represents environmental interests on the state’s Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council (EERMC), which provides independent input and oversight to National Grid’s electric and natural gas efficiency programs.
Energy efficiency is a proven strategy for boosting Rhode Island’s economy and saving consumers money. Between 2012 and 2014, Rhode Islanders’ investments in energy efficiency met 6,200 gigawatt hours of electric demand at a cost of approximately 4 cents per kilowatt hour instead of more than 8 cents per kWh if that demand had to be met through energy purchases. This is equal to $320 million in direct savings to Rhode Island consumers. Since 2008, Rhode Island has invested about $558 million in cost-effective energy efficiency and consumers have realized $1.9 billion in benefits.
By investing in as much low-cost energy efficiency as possible, RI is reducing the cost of doing business in the state and leaving consumers with more money in their pockets. Such consumer savings are often spent right in RI—where they can support our local markets, our students, our education and health facilities—while payments to fossil fuel providers head immediately out of state. Every dollar invested in cost-effective energy efficiency boosts the RI Gross State Product an estimated $3.60 and every $1 million invested in energy efficiency generates almost 40 job years of employment. If fully implemented, the 2015-2017 Energy Efficiency Procurement Plan will boost Rhode Island’s economy by $1.27 billion and create over 11,000 job-years economy-wide.
The Division of Public Utilities commissioned Synapse Energy Economics to analyze what RI’s energy efficiency investment is really doing to our electric bills. The analysis finds that a homeowner who gets a home energy assessment can save approximately 12% on her electric bill by replacing inefficient lighting and appliances, and upgrading home insulation and weatherization. Factor in savings on natural gas or fuel oil use and total spending on energy is even lower. Small business customers can save as much as 37% to 47% by installing high efficiency equipment and making recommended retrofits. Importantly, even customers who do nothing to their own houses or offices benefit from their neighbors’ energy efficiency actions. Reducing the state’s demand for power helps lower the costs of the whole energy system, and those savings are passed on to all electric consumers. The Division’s study finds that these bill savings significantly outweigh the amount-an average of just over 1%– that all consumers pay to finance low cost, low risk energy efficiency investments.
“By approving the 2015-2017 Energy Efficiency Procurement Plan, the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commissions took another big step to ensure that RI continues its nation-leading levels of energy savings. Energy efficiency lowers the cost of doing business in Rhode Island and puts money back in the wallets of all consumers,” said Sosland.
For more on the 2015-2017 Energy Efficiency Procurement Plan for Rhode Island, see: http://www.ripuc.ri.gov/eventsactions/docket/4443page.html
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Emily Avery-Miller, Dir. External Relations, Acadia Center**
(617) 742-0054×100, email@example.com
Abigail Anthony, Dir. Rhode Island Office, Acadia Center**
(401) 276-0600, firstname.lastname@example.org