Energy efficiency programs are a win-win because they help families and businesses lower their energy bills while at the same time reducing harmful pollution for everyone. The Alliance is very proud to have worked on energy efficiency issues for the past 28 years.
Energy Smart: New Orleans’ Energy Efficiency Program
Energy Smart, an $11 million energy efficiency rebate program, is a homerun for the New Orleans City Council. The Alliance worked for many years to make this program a reality. Implementation began in spring 2011 and will run through spring 2014. We are monitoring the implementation of the program and continue to offer guidance to the City Council on program adjustments to increase the reach of energy efficiency improvements. The next step is to make Energy Smart a permanent and comprehensive program by incorporating Energy Smart into the city’s Integrated Resource Plan and then building in funding for the program through the next rate case in 2014.
Statewide Energy Efficiency Programs
The Alliance has been working diligently to bring Energy Smart-like programs to the rest of Louisiana. The first step in the process is to pass the Energy Efficiency Phase I docket at the Louisiana Public Service Commission. Phase I will give the utilities enough direction to create and implement energy efficiency programs over the first two years. The Alliance will be working with the Commission to begin Energy Efficiency Phase II, which will provide the structure for long term, comprehensive programs for all rate classes, including low/fixed income bill payers.
Integrated Resource Planning – the Key to Long-term Energy Efficiency
Integrated Resource Plan policy directs utility companies to put energy efficiency on equal footing with typical forms of energy production, like coal plants, when allocating resources to meet energy needs. The IRP will increase transparency and enable regulators to shift towards cleaner ways of generating energy. Done well, these plans guide the way to lower waste and utility bills for Louisiana families and businesses. The Alliance succeeded in getting good integrated resource plan rules passed in New Orleans and the State, now we are making sure these plans work for rate-payers. The Alliance is an intervener on the IRP docket in New Orleans and is actively participating in the development of the plan. We are making sure that energy efficiency is sufficiently integrated into the plan. At the state level, utilities will begin the IRP process in fall, 2013 and the Alliance will be at the table representing bill-payers.
Valuing Energy Efficiency
Act 504 passed by the Louisiana Legislature requires appraisers to include energy efficiency in the appraised value of a building. Unfortunately the law did not specify how. The Alliance has been working with the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors and Energy Raters to create guidance to appraisers. In the short term, we are recommending that appraisers look at the past two years of energy bills as a guide as well as conducting a professional energy rating on the building. In the long term, we are looking to “green” the multiple listing service to include energy efficiency features to allow appraisers to determine comparable energy efficiency properties.
The Rater Roundtable is a partnership between the Alliance for Affordable Energy and CORE USA. The monthly roundtables are setup by CORE USA and help at the Alliance’s office. These meetings give the Rater Community opportunity to discuss openly their work and with an end goal to provide better rating services to the community as a whole. Find related blog posts.