Massachusetts Leads the Way in Energy Efficiency

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Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced that the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) yesterday gave final approval to three-year plans that will commit the state’s investor-owned utilities and the Cape Light Compact to deliver more aggressive savings to customers, boost the economy and protect the environment. The plans will lead to net benefits of more than $6 billion over the lifetime of the measures implemented.

“These new three-year plans will continue our work toward a clean energy future,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Reducing energy costs for Massachusetts residents, our reliance on foreign sources of energy and our impact on the environment will serve the Commonwealth well for generations to come.”

The approval of the three-year plans expands the Commonwealth’s nation‑leading goals for electricity and natural gas savings from energy efficiency investments and marks another important step in helping the Commonwealth address vital energy issues. The plans call for $2.7 billion in investments that will result in nearly $9 billion in benefits over the life of the installed measures, with a benefit-to-cost ratio greater than three-to-one; for every dollar invested in energy efficiency, ratepayers will receive over three dollars in return over the lifetime of measures installed.

“Reducing our energy consumption will yield significant environmental benefits and help control high energy costs that burden families and businesses in Massachusetts,” Attorney General Martha Coakley said. “These energy efficiency programs are an important step in helping people reduce their energy consumption which can lead to lower bills and lower emissions from power plants.”

“We are proud to lead the nation in energy efficiency and these plans will ensure that we maintain our spot and continue our clean energy revolution,” said Secretary Sullivan. “We are expanding the work we’ve done over the last three years to cut energy use, save money and reduce emissions across the Commonwealth.”

Following an exhaustive process led by EEA’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office, the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council unanimously approved the electric and natural gas utilities’ second three-year efficiency plans last fall, and the utilities filed them with the DPU on Nov. 2, 2012.

The proposed energy savings represent a 23 percent increase compared to the energy savings achieved in the previous three-year plans (2010-2012), in which Massachusetts was ranked #1 in the nation for energy efficiency by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) in 2011 and 2012.

“We’re looking forward to the extensive reach of the Mass Save® programs as the Program Administrators collaborate with our cities and towns, businesses, and residents to reduce costs and improve comfort” said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia. “This statewide effort to increase participation and realize greater energy savings is a demonstration to our commitment and ability to achieve our energy, economic, and environmental goals.”

Greenhouse gas reductions attributable to the plans are estimated at 25.6 million ton over the lifetime of the measures. The reduction is comparable to the environmental benefits achieved by eliminating the energy use of approximately 100,000 homes, or of taking approximately 400,000 cars off the road over the same time period as the energy efficiency measures.

On average, homeowners who take advantage of rebates for efficient lighting, insulation and other programs may see their monthly electric bill decrease by as much as $24, and the monthly gas bill may decrease by $39.

The cost of the plans over three years will be funded primarily by distribution charges on electricity bills and the proceeds of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative allowance auctions.

“These three-year plans significantly advance the Commonwealth’s clean energy agenda,” said DPU Chair Ann Berwick, “Kudos to the distribution companies’ Program Administrators, the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council, the Attorney General and the impressive leadership of the Department of Energy Resources. Policy implementation requires vision, attention to detail, and hard work, and in these plans we see all three in abundance.”

The plans were developed through a comprehensive and collaborative effort with the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council. The Council, chaired by the Commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources, represents the full spectrum of stakeholder perspectives and coordinates with the energy efficiency Program Administrators from the distribution companies to design and monitor the energy efficiency programs.

The Green Communities Act, signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick in 2008, required the state’s investor-owned electric and gas utilities (and the Cape Light Compact, which operates efficiency programs on Cape Cod) to prepare energy efficiency plans that secure for their customers all available energy efficiency and demand reduction resources that cost less than new energy supply.

“Massachusetts continues to lead the way in combating climate change through energy efficiency and conservation,” said Sen. Benjamin B. Downing. “These three year plans will help create jobs, reduce energy bills and protect our environment. I look forward to working with residents, communities and businesses statewide to make sure these plans live up to their great promise.”

“As a result of the hard work of the Secretary, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and our program administrators, as well as the many other contributors, businesses, and stakeholders involved, the Commonwealth’s energy efficiency programs are the most effective in the nation,” said Rep. John Keenan.“The release of these efficiency plans demonstrates our continued commitment to lower energy costs for consumers and the promotion of green jobs.”

"With approval of this plan, Massachusetts stays at the head of the pack relative to other states -- the energy savings goals in this plan are the most aggressive in the country" said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). “These energy savings will help create jobs and improve the state's environment while providing a clear example to other states on what they can and should do."

"The actions taken today by the Massachusetts DPU prove that energy efficiency is the ‘gift that keeps on giving’ to the economy of the Commonwealth”, said President of the Alliance to Save Energy Kateri Callahan. "Notwithstanding huge investments in energy efficiency already made by the state, the new three-year round of funding approved by DPU keeps Massachusetts in the lead among the states and will deliver $9 billion in benefits to businesses and consumers across the state.”

“These plans represent a tremendous commitment by the utilities to reduce the use of energy statewide. With some new and innovative programs contained in the plans, all commercial and industrial ratepayers should find additional ways to save energy and money,” said Robert Rio, Senior Vice President, AIM, and member of the EEAC.

“With this decision, Massachusetts has renewed its commitment to investing in energy efficiency, the cleanest, lowest cost energy resource available. Efficiency will deliver important economic and environmental dividends,” said Jeremy McDiarmid, ENE Massachusetts Director and member of the EEAC. “Throughout Governor Patrick’s tenure, the Commonwealth has shown strong and consistent national leadership on policies that bring clean, affordable energy to citizens and businesses, and today’s decision is another critical step that shows the goals of securing economic growth and reducing pollution work together.”