Regulators weigh utilities’ efficiency targets in Washington state%CODE1% Washington Caucus report
Don André, caucus chair
Following a lengthy process, the Washington’s Utilities and Transportation Commission approved PacifiCorp’s and Avista Utilities’ targets for meeting the energy efficiency provisions of the state’s clean energy law. Initiative 937 requires the state’s major electric utilities to capture all of the cost-effective conservation in their service territories beginning in 2010. The Commission must approve investor-owned utilities’ (IOU) two-year targets.
Puget Sound Energy’s proposal was litigated. A judge recently found in favor of the Coalition’s motion for summary determination, among others. PSE then put forward a revised target substantially higher than the target originally proposed. The Commission will soon announce the next set of procedural steps for considering the new target.
The Commission is proceeding with two inquiries at present. One is on energy efficiency incentives and disincentive-removal mechanisms. Under consideration are such options as full decoupling, lost-margin recovery, attrition adjustments and having an independent third-party provider. The Coalition submitted three sets of comments in this inquiry, and participated in two Commission workshops. NWEC staff have been guided by the principles document the Coalition board approved in November 2009.
The second inquiry focuses on regulatory treatment of renewable energy resources. The Commission is examining cost-recovery issues related to purchase of renewable energy resources, whether its rules provide sufficient flexibility for IOUs to meet or exceed their I-937 renewable energy requirements, and possible incentives to encourage pursuit of renewable resources. Coalition staff is working with member groups Renewable Northwest Project, Climate Solutions, Washington Environmental Council and Sierra Club in this proceeding.
Coalition staff is participating in two IOU evaluation processes: Avista’s collaborative on evaluation, measurement and verification (EM&V) and PSE’s conservation advisory subgroup that’s examining key stakeholders’ expectations and attitudes about EM&V and gathering best practices data from other utilities so PSE can be “best in class” in this area.
Policy director Nancy Hirsh is representing the Coalition as the Department of Commerce updates the state energy plan. Staff also is involved in Cascade Natural Gas Co.’s evaluation of its 3-year pilot decoupling mechanism.
Check here for updates on Coalition staff efforts regarding changes to the Washington state energy code.