Edison Warns CPUC: Efficiency Change Shrinks Savings

By Published On: June 7, 2004

Significant energy-efficiency savings will be lost if recent restrictions placed on a popular appliance rebate program by the California Public Utilities Commission are kept on the books, argues Southern California Edison. Edison filed a petition late last week seeking modification of the CPUC?s decision narrowing eligibility of the statewide residential recycling program for refrigerators and freezers. ?Although it will increase the per-unit savings, it will really shrink the market for energy savings,? said Janet Combs, Edison attorney. The program produces some of the highest energy savings of the various residential and nonresidential efficiency programs. Last year, it produced more than 39 million kWh of net annualized savings in Edison?s territory and more than 62.5 million kWh of net annualized energy savings statewide, according to Edison?s petition. Energy-efficiency consultant Glennis Jones said she was concerned that the CPUC would ?change a wildly successful and cost-effective program without talking to the affected parties and studying what the changes might mean in reality.? Jones?s former employer, ARCA, is the vendor providing services to Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. Before the CPUC changed the efficiency program launched in 1994, refrigerators and freezers of all ages were eligible under the program, which is funded with public-goods money collected from ratepayers. Last December, the CPUC adopted its Energy Division?s proposal to allow only appliances manufactured before 1990 to be eligible for the $35 recycling rebate. The rationale was that older appliances were less efficient and therefore targeting them for the rebate would boost energy savings. The CPUC ruling also requires that the age of the units be verified by manufacturers? stickers, but according to an Edison survey, 70 percent of those were missing. ?I removed mine when washing my refrigerator,? Jones said. The program change not only eliminated a hefty number of recyclable ice boxes but also added administrative costs and burdens to Edison and the customer, the utility argues. Unless the commission reverses its decision, the appliance age restriction, already in effect for Pacific Gas & Electric and SDG&E, will go into effect in Edison territory beginning in July. Edison sought a delay to study the impact of the program restriction. Edison will spend $12 million for the program over the next two years, compared to $3.7 million by PG&E and $2.7 million by SDG&E. Edison will receive another $6 million for the program this year under the long-term procurement decision. <b>?Flex Your Power? Tries New Conservation Tack</b> The state?s energy conservation organization, Flex Your Power, expanded its conservation theme to gasoline. Clicking the Flex Your Power icons on state Web sites now displays a page urging consumers to keep their car tires inflated correctly, observe speed limits, and accelerate smoothly in order to save on expensive gas. Although Flex Your Power is paid for by a public-goods surcharge administered by Southern California Edison, coordinator Wally McGuire said, ?Not a penny of public-goods money is expended for this.? He said there were discussions about using the Flex Your Power name but the group decided to go ahead because ?you pick up a lot of advantages at virtually no cost, since both are conserving energy.? However, Flex Your Power is not supposed to use the term ?conservation? (<i>Circuit</i>, May 14, 2004).

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now