Our first-ever scorecard of US utilities, released today, reveals striking regional differences and the best— and worst — performers on energy efficiency. The 2017 Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard looks at the performance of the 51 largest electricutilities in the United States and highlights cutting-edge efforts. Topping the list are Eversource Massachusetts and National Grid Massachusetts, which both earned the same score. Rounding out the top five are Pacific Gas & Electric, Baltimore Gas & Electric, and Eversource Connecticut.
Utilities are the primary providers of energy efficiency programs for US electricity customers. These programs deliver enormous benefits to households and businesses. Efficiency lowers customer bills, allows utilities to avoid or defer building new power plants or other infrastructure, and reduces local pollutants associated with electricity generation.
We wanted to dig further into this topic to determine which utilities are doing the best on energy efficiency programs and how others can improve. Typical programs encourage the purchase of efficient appliances, lighting, and heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) — both at home and in other places such as commercial kitchens and restaurants.
Click here to view a short video of the lead author discussing the report’s findings.
Leading utilities sometimes undertake 20 or more efficiency programs. Only a few utilities take some of the more forward-thinking approaches such as promoting smart thermostats, residential geo-targeting, zero net energy buildings, and advanced space-heating heat pumps.
This report, the newest addition to our Scorecard series, is a first-of-its-kind deep dive into utility-sector energy efficiency efforts. It provides an important data baseline to assess energy efficiency in the utility sector.
At the top of the list, Eversource Massachusetts and National Grid Massachusetts both earn 91% of total points. Both achieved more than 3% savings as a percentage of their retail sales in 2015 — a notable achievement. The top 10 show impressive commitment to efficiency through a wide range of long-term programs and policies.
Based on 2015 data, we examined 18 metrics across three categories including quantitative savings and spending performance, program diversity and emerging areas, and efficiency-related regulatory issues. Notable findings:
Overall, scores vary widely among the 51 utilities, leaving a lot of room for improvement. The five utilities with the most room to grow are Ohio Edison, Florida Power and Light, Entergy LA, Dominion Energy, and Alabama Power.
The report shows impressive and exemplary utility commitment to offering customers energy efficiency services. The findings underscore that state and regulatory support as well as company commitment are critical for high achievement. We are pleased to provide this snapshot of utility-sector efficiency and hope it will help promote effective program design and implementation.
Tune in next week to our webinar, where we’ll dive even more deeply into the results of the Scorecard with additional reactions from regional energy efficiency organizations across the United States.
We developed metrics that span a wide range of vital utility-sector efficiency programs and performance, each with a point value relative to its importance to utility-sector energy efficiency. We focus on 2015 performance but also on long-term planning and innovation, which are critical to the continued inclusion of energy efficiency as a utility resource. The metrics aim to evaluate performance in a specific utility service territory, although we recognize that utilities operate under complex regulatory and policy landscapes.
The report, which received no utility funding, focuses on the 51 largest electric utilities by retail sales volume. It specifically looks at state jurisdictional utilities rather than parent or holding companies. We include utility-funded programs, both those operated directly by utilities and those operated by third-party administrators with funding from utilities.
We collected public utility filings, reports, and documents to create an initial data set, and worked with utility and other contacts to fill in gaps and confirm data. In some cases, data was adjusted for accurate comparison across utilities. All 51 utilities were provided the opportunity to review the report before its publication.
- Grace Relf conducts research and analysis on utility-sector energy efficiency policies for ACEEE. Specifically, she focuses on programs and initiatives such as rate design and utility resource planning. She joined ACEEE in 2016.