Representing New York's Heating Fuels Industry

NYSEC to Participate in Governor's Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Initiative

20171222_NYS.jpgEarly this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) and the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to propose a Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Initiative by Earth Day, April 22, 2018. Following two stakeholder conferences, the Governor announced that the state would be establishing new energy efficiency targets with comprehensive plans to meet these goals. NYSEC's members, having been a party to other energy efficiency cases before the DPS, were offered the opportunity to participate in this proceeding and NYSEC has intervened as a party in the case.

The purpose of the proceeding is to establish more aggressive energy efficiency programs to enable the state to attain the Governor's greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction goals. Achieving the new energy efficiency targets is expected to deliver nearly one third of the GHG emissions reductions needed to meet New York's goal of a 40 percent GHG reduction by 2030. Energy efficiency is seen as a way of lowering consumer energy costs, curbing harmful emissions, and combating climate change.

It is important to note that through NYSEC's member's efforts, the state now approaches energy efficiency in a fuel neutral manner. Since most energy efficiency programs in the past were conducted through utility rate cases, the DPS focused on providing consumer energy efficiency opportunities solely for electric and natural gas customers. Now, consistent with NYSERDA's long-standing view, energy efficiency programs are to be considered for all fuel and energy sources.

In late April, the state released a comprehensive white paper describing the strategies and initiatives proposed to achieve New York's new energy efficiency goals. The proposal establishes a statewide energy efficiency target of 185 trillion British thermal units of cumulative annual energy savings. Reaching this number requires a mix of strategies designed for specific markets. The proposed initiatives in the white paper intend to implement and expand programs that show the greatest promise.

While NYSEC is in the process of analyzing the white paper, our preliminary review indicates that the state's fuel neutral approach with regard to energy efficiency continues. In fact, the white paper emphasizes:

As the customers of utilities often require various fuel inputs to meet their energy needs beyond those provided, such as heating oil and other petroleum products, design and evaluation of utility programs on a fuel neutral basis would allow new interventions that serve all needs holistically and provide cost-effective efficiency benefits. The Commission previously noted the benefits of fuel neutral design across a program portfolio in its adoption of fuel neutrality for the CEF, as well as in providing the opportunity for utilities to create fuel neutral offerings.

Technical conferences will be held during June explaining the overall approach to achieving the CEEI's goals. The DPS has not released a schedule of the next steps to be undertaken in the process. However, NYSEC will be fully participating in this proceeding to ensure that heating oil customers are offered the numerous energy efficiency initiatives to be developed.