Recently, the American Gas Association released a report that shows that an increasing number of states are implementing regulations that allow local natural gas utilities to set in place energy efficiency programs that help customers reduce their energy bills.
Specifically, the May 2009 issue of the Natural Gas Rate Round-Up reported that 19 states have regulations that permit the recovery of revenues and margins lost due to utility-sponsored energy efficiency programs. In addition, 11 states as well as Canada have approved financial incentives for utilities that invest in energy efficiency.
These measures are important because they align utility incentives with helping customers reduce their energy usage. As a result, where utilities are able to recover energy efficiency program costs and lost revenues, and earn a profit on energy efficiency services, they become stronger partners with customers in achieving conservation.
Effective regulatory approaches, such as decoupling and other innovative rate designs, are a true win for both customers and utilities. Customers save money by using energy more efficiently, and utility companies can promote efficiency and conservation measures without placing themselves in financial jeopardy.
In fact, the report says that by the end of 2007, utility companies in states with energy efficiency or demand management programs achieved a savings of 9 percent of total natural gas usage per residential participant—a direct consumer cost savings.
After seeing these benefits and the opportunities for efficiency and conservation, would you support this type of energy efficiency program in your state?