HPC Briefs New England State Energy Officials on Comprehensive Cost Effectiveness Testing
On May 17, 2017, the National Efficiency Screening Project (NESP) released its groundbreaking National Standard Practice Manual (NSPM) on cost effectiveness testing. A few days later, on May 22, 2017, HPC briefed state energy officials from six New England states and New York state on the NSPM cost effectiveness testing framework at a NASEO Regional Meeting in Woodstock, Vermont. Commissioners from the New Hampshire and Vermont Public Utility Commissions also attend the NASEO Regional Meeting.
State energy officials were particularly interested in the NSPM framework because it allows each state to develop a test that reflects its own energy policies and therefore allow states to “test their tests” for energy efficiency program goals. Although several of the New England states differ on how best to apply their unique policy goals to cost effectiveness testing, many state energy officials will be attending a Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership Workshop on the NSPM on June 15, 2017 in Hartford, Connecticut to learn how best to use the Manual to update and modernize their approaches and strategies toward energy efficiency.
The NEEP Workshop will provide an all-day introduction to and working session on the NSPM with experts and a broad array of stakeholder groups. One state, Rhode Island, has already begun to reform its cost effectiveness testing by adopting a Resource Value Framework to apply to future energy efficiency program evaluations. Another state, Connecticut, has recently completed a comprehensive state energy planning process which it could apply directly to its cost effectiveness testing approach through the adoption of the NSPM.
States collectively spend billions of dollars on energy efficiency programs, so the NSPM is a critical new tool to help state policymakers maximize the value of ratepayer and utility investments in energy efficiency. State energy officials agreed that the NSPM could play a critical role in helping to shape state based approaches to energy efficiency in an era of dwindling state resources and budgets.
One of the “hot topics” to be discussed at the NEEP Workshop will be the “non-energy benefits” that result from energy efficiency retrofits of existing homes. In some states, these “non-energy benefits” such as health, comfort, system reliability, as well as the benefits of avoided power plants, jobs created and pollution reductions are often ignored in traditional cost effectiveness testing scenarios.
Modernizing and reforming cost effectiveness testing has been a high priority for the Home Performance Coalition for several years. HPC will be helping a broad coalition of stakeholders promote the NSPM and educate state and local policymakers on the benefits of updating their cost effectiveness testing to better reflect their own state’s economic development, energy and environmental goals. HPC will be making additional presentations in Chicago, Illinois on June 20, 2017 and Hershey, Pennsylvania on June 26, 2017 during HPC meetings with state energy officials from Mid-West and Mid-Atlantic states.