Energy Efficiency

Report details significant Calif. public power efficiency investment

California’s publicly-owned utilities have collectively spent more than $1.8 billion on energy efficiency and demand reduction programs since formal reporting began in 2006, saving nearly 82,000 GWh in net energy during that time, a new report says.

During fiscal year 2018, California POUs spent $219 million on energy efficiency programs, resulting in 639 GWh of net annual energy savings and reducing peak demand by nearly 129 MW, the report, “Energy Efficiency in California’s Public Power Sector – 13th Edition (2019)”, said. The POUs’ actual energy savings were 24% above forecasted levels for 2018.

California POUs are required by statute to annually submit the report to the California Energy Commission.

California POUs participate in and offer their customers a wide range of energy efficiency programs, including direct- and self-install programs for lighting and appliances, home weatherization and retrofits, electric vehicle incentives and rebates, energy storage, business and residential energy audits, public education, low-income assistance, among others.

California POUs use funding from state cap and trade allowances, a state public goods charge and other sources for these programs.

"We continuously evaluate and expand the programs that work so our communities and our customers benefit,” said Barry Moline, Executive Director of the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA). "Each year, the report's findings show we are making significant investments in energy efficiency. They are having a positive impact in the communities we serve, and the entire state."

The 37 POUs that contributed data for the report cumulatively provide electricity to about 25 percent of California. The commercial sector accounts for the majority of POUs’ annual energy savings (64.6%) and residential programs resulted in 27.6% of the total savings, according to the report.

Mike Webster, the Southern California Public Power Authority’s (SCPPA) Executive Director, said that SCPPA members “continue to work with their customers to increase the energy efficiency in homes and businesses, as well as to improve long-term utility system operations, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve local air quality in the communities they serve.”

“Helping Californians improve the efficient use of energy in their homes and businesses is a priority for locally-owned utilities and a critical piece of our State’s long-term decarbonization efforts,” said Randy Howard, General Manager of the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA).

“As locally-owned and governed utilities, our members offer a diverse portfolio of energy efficiency programs designed to best meet the needs of their customers. This report provides a snapshot of the significant investments that these utilities have made to support energy efficiency and demand reduction in their communities,” Howard said.

Energy use in residential and commercial buildings collectively accounts for nearly one quarter of statewide GHG emissions. Focusing on programs that reduce energy consumption in existing buildings and new construction will continue to be critical in meeting California's long-term carbon reduction goals, CMUA, SCPPA and NCPA said in a news release related to the report.

To download the full report, click here.