FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas public utilities and other interested parties, including the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA), completed work with the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) staff this week on revisions to energy efficiency program delivery guidelines.
Dr. Katherine Johnson, Independent Evaluation Monitor for the APSC and her team of EE experts conducted an annual two-day workshop at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville on Thursday. Utilities and stakeholders, known as the Parties Working Collaboratively (PWC), discussed changes to the Training Resource Manual (TRM) used by the utilities to guide them in delivering EE programs, including deemed savings of specific EE measures.
New federal guidelines, research, and newly published data are incorporated into the TRM. The new TRM, Version 6 will be filed with the APSC on August 31, 2016. TRM V.6 may be revised again early next year as the PWC attempts to use future TRMs for prospective rather than retrospective guidance. The national TRM trend is strongly toward prospective guidance.
New federal baseline changes in lighting dominated the PWC’s TRM discussion; though, deemed savings issues with smart thermostats, door gaskets for cooling and freezing units, cool roofs, radiant barriers, and residential envelopes factored strongly into the workshop.
In testimony filed before the APSC on August 1, 2016, Dr. Johnson, staff and all parties including the seven investor-owned utilities (IOU) and AAEA stated that “the energy efficiency (EE) programs continue to make excellent progress towards achieving their energy savings and participation goals.” The EM&V (Evaluation, Measurement, and Verification) findings confirmed “that customer satisfaction remains high across the entire Arkansas EE program portfolio of measures.” However, the EM&V process did provide 50 new recommendations on ways to improve specifically focusing on ways to enhance program design, trade ally outreach, marketing, and program operations. Such recommendations are incorporated into utility EE programs and outreach materials.
Most of the IOU programs exceeded their energy savings goals. The four electric utilities achieved 108 percent of their 2015 savings goals while the three natural gas IOUs achieved 102 percent of their targets. SWEPCO lead the utilities by achieving 119% of its target. A total of 282, 558,338 kwhs and 4,891,135 therms were saved by the IOUs.
Dr. Johnson will be the featured speaker at AAEA’s Fifth Annual emPOWERing Arkansas meeting in Little Rock on October 11th.