Utilities’ Efficiency Nabs $28M

By Published On: December 5, 2013

For 2011, the California Public Utilities Commission Dec. 5 awarded three utilities shareholder bonuses for investing in their customer energy efficiency programs. For efficiency programs in place two years ago, the shareholder bonuses are: —$21.5 million for PG&E; —$3.9 million for SDG&E; and —$3 million for SoCal Gas. Calling efficiency a “core business strategy” and top of the hierarchy of investments in new “power” sources, the commission made the awards although it continues to deliberate on reforming its “carrot” approach to utility efficiency forays. Awarding utilities for such investments was lauded by regulators, at first, as a way to get efficiency measures out to the public. After the first few years—where most of the investments went to changing the way customers think of lighting and subsidizing compact fluorescent light bulbs—regulators began to question the efficacy of the rewards program. Utilities administer their own investments. Commission staff devises methodology to oversee whether they are efficient in efficiency measures.

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