So Far, Statewide Energy Efficiency Programs Are Working

In 2004, 26 states created programs to save energy by developing long-term energy efficiency resource standards (EERS).  These long-term targets demand reductions from power providers, encouraging them to help customers learn how to save energy.  The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently released a report on the state of 19 of these programs, including Pennsylvania’s.

The report claims that “almost every state with an EERS is on track, meeting, or exceeding goals in 2010.”  More specifically, 13 states have achieved 100% of their targets, 3 states are at 90% of their targets, and 3 states are below 80% of their targets.

Pennsylvania set a long-term target of 3% cumulative savings by 2013 and placed these standards on investor-owned electric distribution companies (EDC).  The standards became effective on November 14, 2008.  This means that each EDC with at least 100,000 customers must reduce energy consumption by a minimum of 1% by May 31st, 2011 and by 3% by May 31st, 2013.  The standards also require that 10% of this reduction must come from federal, state, and local government with another 10% coming from the low-income sector.  If these standards are not met, the EDC’s may face penalties ranging from $1M to $20M.

Progress started slowly in Pennsylvania, with only 19% of the goal achieved after the first program year.  However, by the end of November 2010, 58% of the 2011 goal had been reached, putting them on track to meet the 1% savings target by June 2011.  A new Statewide Evaluator has proven to be extremely helpful to the utilities as it allows them to gauge performance and verify savings.

The ACEEE cautions, however, that as time goes on, these targets will be harder to meet.  They state that some states may drop off or wait until the last year to make demand reductions.  Additionally, some targets increase as the years go on, making them more difficult to meet.  On the bright side, when states do meet their targets, it seems that consumers are also seeing a benefit, as shown on the above graph.

To read the entire ACEEE report, click here!

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