Have Energy Efficiency Programs Gone Too Far For Utilities?
As the cost of creating new generation has become more expensive, and as it has also become more difficult to site new generation (especially coal and nuclear) as a result of federal and state hurdles, more and more utilities have invested a significant amount of time, money and expertise in helping reduce energy demand. The idea of course: If they can reduce demand, then the need to build new generation can also be reduced.
One of the most widespread and successful initiatives, which began to gain traction over 30 years ago, has been for utilities to set up energy efficiency programs, including consulting services and rebates for their residential, commercial and industrial customers.
These days, however, a few utilities are starting to take note of the fact that maybe things have gone too far. As they begin to experience declining loads and revenues from the impact of these energy efficiency programs, and as more and more customers opt for customer-sited generation (especially roof top solar), utilities are legitimately questioning whether they should continue to invest resources to help customers become even more energy-efficient, the results of which would allow customers to reduce their utility bills even more, and thus also reduce loads and revenues for the utilities even more.
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