July 4, 2012

Proposed Delaware bill to make energy efficiency a state renewable energy purchase requirement

Electric utilities in Delaware would be able to count energy efficiency toward their state renewable energy purchase requirements, under a bill under consideration in the General Assembly.

The bill would also allow Delmarva Power to offer energy efficiency programs to residents and businesses. It is largely restricted from doing so under current law, which assigns the Sustainable Energy Utility that responsibility.

Delmarva Power has long supported energy efficiency programs for its customers, said Matt Likovich, spokesman for the utility. Delmarva has programs such as offering money for trading in old appliances in Maryland, but in Delaware, its only efficiency programs are those directly tied to the use of its “smart meters.”

The SEU, a not-for-profit, state-created energy efficiency organization, has mostly focused on large state and university buildings since overspending its residential and small business efficiency budget late last summer.

If the bill is signed into law, the utilities, along with the SEU, will become responsible for carrying out energy efficiency programs in Delaware, Likovich said. If that happens, “Delmarva Power looks forward to cooperating with the SEU and the State Energy Office to offer energy efficiency programs to our Delaware customers.”

Current law requires electric utilities to cut 15 percent of their 2007 energy use by 2015. The bill allows the companies to count any extra efficiency savings against their state renewable energy purchase requirements. The bill also allows Delmarva Power to file its long-term energy supply plan, known as the Integrated Resource Plan, every three years, not two.

The main sponsors of the bill, Senate Bill 264, are Sen. Harris McDowell III, D-Wilmington, and Rep. Darryl Scott, D-Dover. It was introduced on June 19 and was assigned to the Senate Energy and Transit Committee, of which McDowell is chairman. Committees are not meeting anymore, as the last day of this legislative session is Sunday, so the bill would need to be called directly to the floor of both chambers in order to pass.

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