American Gas - November 2013 - (Page 13)
Utilities to get paid for encouraging
SAn FrAnCISCo -The California Public
Utilities Commission has approved an energy
savings and performance incentive mechanism
that will reward the four investor-owned electric
and natural gas utilities headquarted in California
for helping customers upgrade their homes and
businesses to improve energy efficiency (bit.ly/
For 2013 and 2014, California's four
investor-owned utilities-Pacific Gas & Electric,
Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas
& Electric, and Southern California Gas-can
earn rewards up to a total of $89 million per
year across the group for activities that promote
energy efficiency. The utilities will earn incentive
awards by meeting or exceeding goals in four
* Actual energy savings achieved, which represents roughly 70 percent of potential incentives
* A constructive and collaborative effort during
the review process associated with measurement and verification of energy savings
* Implementation of non-resource programs
such as emerging technologies, workforce education, and training
* Effective advocacy for the development of new
codes and standards both within California
and at the federal level.
"All four performance categories are essential
to a successful portfolio, but this is the first time
that any state has attempted to financially incent
each of these key aspects explicitly," CPUC Commissioner Mark J. Ferron said in a statement.
The CPUC's new mechanism provides a
"carrot" to encourage utilities to implement
even more pollution-reducing and money-saving
programs, wrote Devra Wang, director of the
California Energy Program for the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a recent blog. "The
commission's new incentive mechanism improves upon past efforts by rewarding utilities for
maximizing longer-term energy savings, such as
helping customers improve the efficiency of their
entire home, rather than just focusing on their
cheapest immediate savings-such as those from
installing more efficient lightbulbs, for example.
This new approach should spur more comprehensive and innovative approaches and provide
greater air quality improvements and greenhouse
gas pollution reductions."
The CPUC move is part of a growing trend
around the nation to reward utilities for helping
customers save energy, Wang added. More than
half the states now offer utilities incentives for
energy-efficiency progress. -G.J.
Greenbacks for Green Fuel
In a pioneering program, residential
customers pay extra for biogas
As reported in the October
issue of American Gas (page
26), OneOK, inc. has
received permission from its
board to separate its natural
gas distribution business into a
new publicly traded company
called One Gas inc. According to research conducted
by morgan stanley & co.,
OneOK's financial advisor,
this makes the new company the nation's only publicly
traded, fully regulated, pureplay natural gas utility. One
Gas will provide no electricity,
construction services, or any
other operations outside of its
natural gas utility business.
DeTroIT -Two thousand customers of DTE
Natural Gas are paying $2.50 a month to support a two-year pilot program that brings converted landfill gas to residential pipelines, and the
program still has a substantial waiting list.
The Detroit-based utility launched the BioGreenGas program last year in partnership with
Clean Energy Renewable Fuels, a major provider
of natural gas fuel for transportation based in
California. CERF invested $20 million in the
infrastructure needed to turn biogas at Sauk Trail
Hills landfill in Canton, Mich., into pipelinequality natural gas. DTE Pipeline Co. paid $2
million to build a pipeline from the landfill to its
residential distribution system.
The $2.50 a month extra that subscribers
see on their DTE bill pays for the 10,000 decatherms of converted landfill that DTE purchased
from CERF. (CERF will also provide Sauk Trail
Hills gas to NGV fleets and other customers.)
"We call them our 'affluent green' customers,"
DTE Vice President of Gas Sales & Supply Mark
Stiers told American Gas in discussing the landfill
gas customers. "They've subscribed simply because they are truly environmentally concerned."
Though the company has done little advertising of the program, dozens more customers
have indicated that they want to participate,
Stiers said. The company is reviewing whether to
continue and possibly expand the pilot program
when it ends in April.
So-called "affluent green" customers are paying
$2.50 a month extra to turn a landfill's biogas into
pipeline-quality natural gas.
november 2013 AmericAn GAs
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Gas - November 2013
American Gas - November 2013
Head Start: On Energy Education
By the Numbers
Need to Know
The Wheels on the Bus...
Fueling the Future
U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz
A Tight Ship
Expanding the Reach of the Gas Infrastructure
American Gas - November 2013