SUBMITTED BY THE SOUTHWEST ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROJECT
Today, clean energy and energy efficiency advocates urged state regulators to not let NV Energy get away with cutting back on efficiency programs that will save households and businesses millions of dollars in future energy spending.
The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada is currently reviewing NV Energy’s latest Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), a 20-year plan updated every three years that lays out how the utility plans to meet demand for power. The appeals for efficiency came in the form of testimony, submitted by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) and Nevadans for Clean Affordable Reliable Energy (NCARE), both of which say that NV Energy has retreated from promises made last July.
When NV Energy first submitted its IRP to the commission last July, the utility was on track to save its customers $483 million on future energy spending by delivering an impressive array of energy efficiency programs and services over the next three years. But the utility withdrew that plan, re-filing a new one in February and stripping $154 million from its 2010-2012 energy efficiency budget, cutting future benefits to customers nearly in half, or by $236 million.
“Nevadans unknowingly waste more than $1 billon a year paying for energy they did not need because their homes and offices aren’t properly insulated or have outdated energy systems. NV Energy’s efficiency programs have a proven track record of cutting down waste and saving customers money on utility bills. In this lemon of an economy, NV Energy should be doing everything it can to help customers slash energy waste and save money,” said Rick Van Diepen, President of the Nevada Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and member of NCARE.
NV Energy is proposing cutbacks to programs that help homeowners, school districts and business owners pay for energy-saving improvements, such as replacing old and inefficient air conditioners, refrigerators and lights with energy-wise products. Programs that incentivize construction of Energy Star homes and provide rebates and discounts on Energy Star appliances and electronics are on the chopping block as well.
SWEEP and NCARE are urging the PUCN to ensure NV Energy is planning for highest achievable levels of energy savings for its customers. The groups are recommending commissioners approve funding for several energy efficiency programs at levels that would save ratepayers $317 million on future energy spending – a $72 million increase in savings over the amount targeted by NV Energy.
“Improving energy efficiency is good energy policy for Nevada. Reducing energy waste reduces energy development costs for everyone while creating a more secure and clean energy future for Nevada,” said Steve Wiel, Nevada representative at SWEEP.
The commission will hold public meetings on NV Energy’s IRP in May and June, leading up to its final decision on the plan in July. The first public sessions will take place May 10 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Cashman Convention Center in Las Vegas.