The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Thursday took steps to better measure the results of energy efficiency and conservation programs. CPUC action on a 5-0 vote set new rules on calculating both energy savings and program portfolio cost-effectiveness.
Each of the state's major private-sector utilities will have to submit supplemental filings to the CPUC reflecting the latest regulatory action and its effect on their 2009-2011 plans. Savings achievements and benefits are only viable if they are "real and additional," under the new CPUC decision.
Commissioner Dian Grueneich said the need to create long-lasting energy savings in the state's homes and businesses "is greater today than ever before." Grueneich said the timing has never been better regarding the government, private-sector and research sectors coming together "to transform the market context for energy efficiency in a way we have never seen before."
The CPUC is charged with setting the rules for judging the savings and cost-effectiveness of the major private-sector utilities' efficiency program portfolios. Results will be counted on a cumulative basis, allowing surpluses and deficits from one program cycle to be carried over to the next cycle. One of issues dealt with Thursday was the decision that cumulative savings would be counted for the years 2006 through 2011.
Gas consumption goals for the two combination utilities -- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and San Diego Gas and Electric Co. -- were adjusted by 20% to take into account updated information on interactive effects of efficiency programs.
The six other issues addressed by the CPUC Thursday were proposals or requests coming from the investor-owned utilities (IOU):
Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon said California is "blazing new trails" in efficiency programs, including its evaluation and measurement of their effectiveness. "It is both an art and a science, and as [our] interim decision acknowledges, there is still much to learn about critical elements of our portfolio. I expect our programs to continue to be 'works in progress' as we seek more accuracy in our measurements of energy savings."
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