UPDATE: The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission approved a settlement establishing the state’s first numerical energy efficiency standard on August 2, 2016. Thanks to this decision, families and businesses across New Hampshire can look forward to lower energy bills and cleaner air. You can read more about the settlement below.
A groundbreaking deal has been reached that will enable New Hampshire to ramp up energy efficiency in gradual but meaningful steps. CLF has been advocating for stronger energy efficiency programs in New Hampshire for years, to keep the state economically competitive, bring it up to date with its neighbors – which all have strong efficiency programs – and help reduce climate-warming pollution.
The recent deal, which was struck in the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard proceeding at the Public Utilities Commission, could do all of that. While the ramp-up would be modest at first, over time energy efficiency programming would target the gold standard of “all cost-effective” measures – meaning if it saves us money, it’s worth it.
Done right, energy efficiency will always save money for the state’s families and businesses – savings that extend to all of New Hampshire and to New England as a whole. Apart from the direct savings we see in our monthly bills when we conserve energy, energy efficiency lowers the price of electricity region-wide. It also allows us to avoid costly new investments in power plants and transmission infrastructure. In each of these ways, energy efficiency helps to keep our economy competitive.
Most importantly, energy efficiency is not only the cheapest energy resource – it’s the cleanest one. By increasingly maximizing energy efficiency, New Hampshire will preserve its landscapes and the way of life we all enjoy for generations to come.
Before this groundbreaking settlement deal can become state policy, however, the Public Utilities Commission must accept it. CLF is urging the Commission accept the deal. As an initial step, the settlement would save 3.1% in electricity consumption and 2.25% in consumption of natural gas over defined baseline levels by 2020. The state’s three public utilities would in time work to decouple their profits from their sales, a rate measure proven to help dis-incentivize utility waste, saving energy consumers even more money. And the ultimate goal of the settlement is to achieve all cost-effective energy efficiency – so that we don’t waste any of the cost-cutting effects of increased efficiency.
The broad support the settlement has received by parties to the proceeding – including utility companies, environmental advocates, and others – shows that, done right, energy efficiency is a no-brainer. It helps to keep the skies blue, the trees green, and money in our pockets. It’s the smartest energy investment New Hampshire can make.