National organizations representing energy consumers — large and small — urged Congress Monday not to mandate a national approach to push more energy-saving measures. Rather they want states to have the flexibility of varying their approaches to energy efficiency. The national association of state regulators also supports this state-focused approach.
At issue is a proposed provision of the economic stimulus package, commonly called revenue decoupling, that would guarantee that utilities’ revenue streams would not be affected by energy-saving programs that lead to reduced sales or throughput. Instead, the amount of savings realized by consumers from efficiency programs could be reduced, or eliminated.
Large and small energy consumers oppose a national mandate favoring one type of energy efficiency incentive policy, the heads of the Electricity Consumers Resource Council (ELCON) and National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) wrote as part of a letter to Congress on the state utility ratemaking policies part of the proposed economic stimulus legislation now being debated on Capitol Hill.
Calling it a “misguided federal mandate,” ELCON President John Anderson urged Congress to reject a stimulus package that promotes revenue decoupling. Likewise, NASUCA Executive Director Charlie Acquard said “a one-size-fits-all approach simply does not recognize that different approaches may be more appropriate.”
Last Thursday, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) sent a letter to U.S. Senate and House leaders urging that no “funding preconditions” be included in the stimulus legislation’s energy efficiency provisions to avoid “unnecessarily delaying effective energy conservation efforts and the delivery of stimulus funding into the economy.”
“With revenue decoupling, a utility would manage the energy efficiency program and consumer savings could be reduced or even eliminated in order to maintain the utility’s revenue level,” said ELCON’s Anderson. “It’s not fair to consumers, and that its why we oppose this mandate.” Revenue decoupling already is in place in a number of states, including California.
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