Two More Energy Efficiency Programs May Undergo Changes

Two More Energy Efficiency Programs May Undergo Changes
16 April 2019

Rocky Mountain Power filed applications to revise two more energy efficiency programs—the Low Income Weatherization program and the Cool Keeper program. See dockets 19-035-T04 and 19-035-T05 respectively. Utah Clean Energy supports both proposals as they will expand incentives and access to energy efficiency. These are the second and third programs that RMP has proposed revising this year. The first was the Non-Residential Energy Efficiency program (to read more on this, see our previous blog post).

Rocky Mountain Power’s Low Income Weatherization program provides incentives to improve the energy efficiency of qualified RMP customers’ homes by improving home insulation and the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment. Qualifying customers must be eligible for assistance from the State of Utah’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). RMP’s proposed changes to its program would expand the number of energy efficiency measures that can be included in homes that receive weatherization assistance through the state WAP. For example, under the proposed revisions qualified low-income customers with inefficient central air conditioners or evaporative coolers will be eligible for incentives to help cover the cost of improved ceiling and wall insulation. Further, low-income customers with inefficient central air conditioners, window air conditioners, or evaporative coolers will be eligible for incentives to replace these inefficient units with more efficient evaporative coolers, which use up to 75% less electricity than central air conditioners! Utah Clean Energy submitted comments to the Public Service Commission in support of these proposed revisions and also noted that, despite these improvements, the level of funding and proposed electricity savings being proposed by RMP is among the lowest in the nation. We also encouraged RMP to continue working with stakeholders to expand its support for energy efficiency incentives for low-income Utahns.

The Cool Keeper program allows RMP to direct participating customers’ air conditioning units to better control electricity demand during peak energy hours in the summer. Managing electricity demand during summer peak hours and other times throughout the year is a critical step to integrating more renewable energy into the electric grid. We are excited about RMP’s proposed changes to this program, which would increase the incentives paid to participating customers, extend the number of months and daily hours in which the program may operate, and enable additional programs capable of helping RMP manage electricity demand in new ways. These proposed changes not only improve the effectiveness of the Cool Keeper program but will likely help RMP transition to a clean energy future faster by allowing additional types of load management programs – such as those incorporating battery storage and electric vehicle charging – to be offered in the future. Utah Clean Energy will be submitting comments in support of these changes.