Energy-efficiency policies get increased attention

April 05, 2001 |

Washington, D.C. - A new study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) indicates that the state movement toward electric restructuring has largely stalled. The current count of 24 states that have passed restructuring legislation is essentially the same as it was this time last year. This halt is largely attributable to the negative results experienced in the wake of deregulation in California. The ACEEE report reviews the status of electric restructuring in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

On the other hand, ACEEE's review found that the 'public benefits' policies (e.g., programs for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and low-income customer assistance) passed as a part of restructuring in many states are going strong. Indeed, key states such as California and New York have recently increased and extended their support for public benefits programs. Overall, a total of 19 states have passed specific public benefits policies to fund energy efficiency programs, with annual budgets totaling over $800 million.

'It appears that the public benefits policies, such as those supporting energy efficiency, are the single most popular aspect of electric restructuring,' commented Dr. Martin Kushler, director of the utilities program at ACEEE. 'State policymakers are increasingly recognizing the potential for energy efficiency to lower customer energy bills, improve electric system reliability, and help hold down market prices for electricity.'

The ACEEE study should serve well as a handy reference guide for those interested in state electric restructuring and public benefits issues. The report contains a concise summary of state policy activity regarding electric restructuring, and for those states that have restructured, a summary of activity in the public benefits categories of research and development, energy efficiency, direct renewable energy funding, renewable portfolio standards, low-income programs, and environmental disclosure. That information is followed by an appendix that provides a detailed state-by-state description of the status and background of electric restructuring for each of the states. Those state summaries also describe the scope, funding, administration, and duration of any public benefits programs, as well as other public benefits-related policies such as renewable portfolio standards and environmental disclosure requirements. was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Electricity Restructuring Program and The Energy Foundation. It is available for $30 (postpaid).

Contact ACEEE Publications, phone: 202-429-0063; e-mail:; Web site: ACEEE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting both economic prosperity and environmental protection.

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