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The Statewide Energy Efficiency Planning Process: Why It’s Important and How to Get Involved

You may be most familiar with state energy efficiency programs like MassSave Program due to their ubiquitous branding – but did you know energy efficiency programs provide much more to cities and towns than free LED light bulbs for its residents and business owners?

Massachusetts is ranked first in the nation for the quality of its energy efficiency programs in 2017, breaking out of its tie with California in 2016. So how did Massachusetts’ leading energy efficiency program come about and who guides the design and implementation of the program?

Read on to learn about the planning process behind the statewide energy efficiency program and how your city or town can make its voice heard this summer as the next three year energy efficiency plan is developed.

Source: ACEEE, The 2017 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

 

The Basics

Program Administrators (PAs) are the gas and electric utility companies responsible for the administration of the state’s energy efficiency programs. In the MAPC region, some PA’s include Eversource, National Grid, and Columbia Gas. Some other utilities involved in the planning process serving other regions of the state include Liberty Utilities, Unitil, Cape Light Compact, Berkshire Gas, and Blackstone Gas.

The Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC) is an advisory body established by the legislature in the Green Communities Act of 2008. The EEAC plays a central role in guiding the development of the energy efficiency plan and providing recommendations to the PAs. The EEAC is chaired by the Commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources with fifteen voting members, including MAPC that represents key interests from large commercial and industrial customers to small energy efficiency businesses and non-profits.

The state’s energy efficiency programs operate on a three year planning cycle. The current plan provides a program design to achieve energy efficiency savings from 2016 to 2018. Massachusetts is currently in the midst of laying out the program design and savings goal for the 2019-2021 Three Year Energy Efficiency Plan. A draft Plan was released on April 30, 2018. The final Plan will be produced and reviewed in the fall, by the Department of Public Utilities, members of the EEAC and the public to ensure that the 2019-2021 Plan is composed of effective new ideas that set ambitious goals for energy efficiency across the state.

What’s MAPC’s Role?

MAPC was appointed a seat on the EEAC representing Commonwealth Cities and Towns in fall 2017. In the role, MAPC has brought in on-the-ground context from our work with communities that advance energy efficiency. As the 2019-2021 Three Year Energy Efficiency Plan develops, MAPC will share suggestions on program improvements and enhancements for consideration by the entire EEAC and the PAs.

How can my community get involved?

Communities are invited to voice their opinions at EEAC monthly meetings, where a portion of time is allocated for public comment. On June 27, 2018, there will be a unique opportunity for the public to provide in-person testimony to the EEAC and PAs on their priorities and recommendations for the 2019-2021 Three Year Energy Efficiency Plan. RSVP to attend the public comment meeting here. If you cannot attend in person, the EEAC is accepting submissions of written comments by email to ma-eeac@state.ma.us.


MAPC developed a Template Comment Letter that you can download to use as is or as a starting point for submitting comments. If you have questions about the planning process and how to get more involved, please contact Megan Aki, Clean Energy Analyst.