Historic energy efficiency program gets underway


Garry A. Brown,
New York State
Public Service
New York, NY, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 20, 2008 – The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) has introduced its historic Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS), an energy efficiency initiative that seeks to reverse the pattern of ever-increasing energy use in New York by reducing electric usage 15 percent of projected levels by 2015, making it one of the most aggressive efficiency programs in the nation.

“Never before have we faced such significant energy challenges,” said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. “The unprecedented rise in energy prices we are experiencing puts to rest any doubts the market is changing. To confront this new and unpleasant reality, we must immediately take bold steps to improve energy efficiency and reduce consumption of ever-more costly fossil fuels that we have come to depend on. Doing nothing should not be considered as an option.”

Chairman Brown added: “The unprecedented energy efficiency program we are approving today will be critically important for the state’s future energy policy. Without doubt, energy efficiency is the most cost-effective, and most immediate, way to reduce the burden of rising energy and environmental costs on residential and business customers. The steps we are taking will establish a framework for ensuring energy efficiency becomes an integral part of the New York energy industry. This initiative is squarely in context of broader state policies designed to develop a clean energy industry and economy.”

The energy efficiency proceeding is designed to forestall an expected rise in energy consumption. At current trends, by 2015 electric energy usage in New York is estimated to be 11 percent higher than current levels. These factors, combined with expected fuel price increases and supply uncertainty, and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make it necessary to create energy efficiency programs and quickly find ways to reduce energy use.

The ultimate program contemplated when fully funded is expected to provide more than $4 billion in benefits to customers through 2015. In addition, it is anticipated that thousands of jobs will be created to support the new energy efficiency programs – retrofitting outdated, inefficient residential, commercial and industrial properties, installing new energy efficient equipment, and informing the public about the new opportunities for savings on energy bills – by 2015.

With its action today, the Commission establishes efficiency targets to be achieved by regulated entities through 2011. It also requires utilities to start collecting additional set-asides of $172 million annually, beginning in October 2008, in System Benefits Charge (SBC) funding to invest in energy efficiency programs.

Furthermore, the development of an efficiency target for natural gas will provide the basis for additional benefits. The $13 million annually through 2011 in natural gas energy efficiency programs included in the SBC funding is expected to result in a net benefit to New York’s economy of more than $160 million.

The Commission also approved certain New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) energy efficiency programs on a fast-track. In addition, the Commission expects utilities to submit new energy efficiency programs for approval, which will be expedited for programs in specific pre-approved categories. Average customer bill impacts are projected to be modest.

The EEPS will be a joint effort by NYSERDA, the utilities, and other entities that are capable of administering and delivering programs and which are willing and able to be accountable for results. The EEPS is designed to meet targets and goals for energy efficiency to contribute to the reduction of the State’s dependence upon imported and fossil fuel-based generation; reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, reduce participating customer bills, stimulate economic development and create jobs in the clean energy sector for New Yorkers.