PUC Seeks Comment on Future of Energy Efficiency, Conservation Programs

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) issued a secretarial letter seeking comments on the future of energy efficiency and conservation (EE&C) programs established under Act 129 of 2008.

“Throughout my tenure on the commission, I have championed the programs resulting from Act 129 and I remain a strong supporter of energy efficiency and demand response,” said Chairman Robert F. Powelson in a statement. “It is essential, however, that any future Act 129 programs are effective uses of consumers’ money.”

The commission voted 5-0 to seek comments on important topics and issues that will be instrumental in designing and implementing any future phase of the EE&C program.

The current EE&C plans are valid through 2013, at which time the law directs the PUC to re-evaluate the costs and benefits to determine if the EE&C programs should continue. By initiating this planning process well in advance of 2013, the commission intends to facilitate a smooth transition to minimize any possible program lapses if the decision is made to move into the second phase of the program.

The secretarial letter asks interested parties to comment on:

  • The proposed timeline for assessing the need for Phase II;
  • The length of a potential Phase II;
  • Inclusion and structure of a demand response curtailment program;
  • Aligning electric distribution company targets and funding using dollars per MWh of expected reductions;
  • Inclusion of a reduction target carve-out for the government, educational and non-profit sector and suggestions on structure;
  • Inclusion of a low-income sector carve-out;
  • Program design issues and
  • Other transition issues.

Also, commission staff will convene an Act 129 Stakeholder meeting at 9 a.m. March 16 in Hearing Room 1 of the Commonwealth Keystone Building in Harrisburg.  The purpose of the meeting is to allow interested parties to discuss views on possible timeline issues, additional planning and implementation, as well as to begin a dialogue about the potential energy reduction targets of Phase II of Act 129 is deemed necessary.

On Oct. 15, 2008, Act 129 of 2008 became law and included implementation of EE&C programs that would produce usage reductions to meet legislatively-mandated targets through May 31, 2013.  Act 129 also addressed issues such as electric utility and default service provider responsibilities; conservation service providers; smart meter technology; time-of-use rates; real-time pricing plans; default service procurement; market misconduct; alternative energy sources; and cost recovery.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

For recent news releases, audio of select commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website atwww.puc.state.pa.us.

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