http://www.cleanenergy.org/2013/10/29/new-energy-savings-program-benefits-consumers-rewards-duke-energy-for-cutting-energy-waste/

SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

New Energy Savings Incentive Benefits Consumers, Rewards Duke Energy for Cutting Energy Waste

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CONTACT:
Jennifer Rennicks, SACE, (828) 235-1448, jrennicks@cleanenergy.org
Kelly Martin, Sierra Club, (828) 251-1272, kelly.martin@sierraclub.org
Kathleen Sullivan, SELC, (919) 945-7106, ksullivan@selcnc.org

New Energy Savings Incentive Benefits Consumers, Rewards Duke Energy for Cutting Energy Waste
NC Utilities Commission Approved Innovative New Program

RALEIGH, NC – The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has approved a new energy efficiency incentive mechanism for Duke Energy, the state and nation’s largest utility company. The new incentive uses a shared-savings model, in which Duke Energy’s customers will share in the financial gains of energy savings with the utility. The vast majority of the financial savings will go to customers, like families and small businesses. This new reward-based program will build upon Duke Energy’s energy efficiency successes over the past four years, and will put the Company in a position to grow its energy efficiency performance and continue to set a strong example as a leader in energy savings in the Southeast.

“This is a win-win for consumers and for Duke Energy, because the more energy Duke saves, the more money the customer saves,” said Kelly Martin, senior campaign representative with Sierra Club in North Carolina. “Rewarding good behavior is the best way to encourage a company like Duke Energy to dig in and invest in energy savings programs that cut waste, save money and reduce the need to run dirty, aging coal-fired power plants.”

Duke Energy and the NCUC previously used the Save-A-Watt program to reward the utility for investing in energy efficiency programs. Under this program, Duke Energy achieved savings of 0.65% of all retail sales in North Carolina. Leaders in energy efficiency across the nation are achieving more than 2% savings; and over 14 states are saving at least 1% of retail sales a year. Through this new incentive, Duke Energy will receive additional incentives for meeting a more aggressive goal of 1% energy savings.

“Duke Energy may be the nation’s largest utility, but it has lagged far behind the nation’s leaders in energy savings investments,” said Natalie Mims, Energy Efficiency Director for Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “The new financial incentive re-confirms North Carolina’s support for energy efficiency, and provides an opportunity for Duke Energy to make the Carolinas the most efficient states in the Southeast.”

A key component in the shared savings mechanism is to allow customers to share in money saved by reducing energy waste, which is a standard component of energy efficiency incentives in leading states.

“Today’s vote was important because the North Carolina Utilities Commission affirmed the value of energy efficiency as key component of a twenty-first century energy system,” said Gudrun Thompson, senior attorney at Southern Environmental Law Center. “The Commission also required Duke Energy to look at energy efficiency programs to benefit low-income customers and to explore opportunities to overcome barriers to small business energy efficiency with this order.”

Luis G. Martinez, director of Southeast energy for the Natural Resources Defense Council, added, “We are really pleased with the Commission’s decision to have the company meet with interested intervenors to discuss the development of programs targeted at helping low-income customers, on-bill repayment and Combined Heat and Power. These programs offer valuable energy efficiency savings, and we are happy to work with Duke going forward to design and integrate them throughout their system.”

Energy efficiency keeps costs down for all customers, and is the best way to reduce energy waste, while reducing the need for utilities like Duke Energy to run power plants responsible for producing air and water pollution.