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Hope in New Hampshire

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Henry Craver's picture
Small Business Owner , Self-employed

As a small business owner, I'm always trying to find ways to cut costs and boost the dependability of my services. To that end, I've become increasingly invested in learning about energy saving...

  • Member since 2018
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  • Dec 16, 2021
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Momentum seems to be growing in opposition to a decision in New Hampshire that would cancel state subsidies for energy efficiency upgrades. 

Here’s how the original decision was summed up in a recent NPR article on the controversy:

“In mid-November, the state’s Public Utilities Commission rejected a three-year plan to expand energy efficiency programs in the state. That plan was supported by utility companies and other major stakeholders and would have cost about $350 million for NH Saves. That money comes from what’s known as the system benefits charge on customers’ electricity bills.

Instead, the PUC reversed course: decreasing the rates of funding for those programs and advocating for “market-based” energy efficiency programs. The commissioners said that the price of the original proposal was too high and would place “an enormous burden on New Hampshire ratepayers.” It also did away with performance incentives for utilities, which meant those companies would earn more if customers saved more.”

Now, however, the state’s consumer advocate and the commissioner of energy are asking the PUC to revise their decision. Governor Chris Sununu voiced his support for a revision on Tuesday. 

The subsidies are still up in the air, but it’s good to see a concerted pushback against the cuts. Energy efficiency has stagnated for much of the past decade, which has represented a huge lost opportunity for dollar and carbon savings. The tide seems to be turning this year, with a number of states and municipalities expanding EV programs and regulations. However, there’s still work to be done.


 

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Julian Silk's picture
Julian Silk on Dec 27, 2021

Dear Henry and the Readers,

 

I want to comment on this article.  I don't disagree with the notion of subsidies for energy efficiency investments, but want to make it clear that they have to be considered carefully, and that the opponents of such subsidies will be able to cite evidence for their case.  First, various ways to analyze the returns of such investments are at

https://srsworkx.com/2020/10/15/devil-in-the-details-the-financial-analy...

Second, the critics will cite a University of Chicago study at

https://epic.uchicago.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Research-Summary-4.pdf

Third, one way to deal with the criticism is to look at the risk-adjusted returns.  The subsidies can be targeted to minimize the risk to the homeowners or business owners, who will bear the costs but who may not get all the benefits, because of moving or business losses, etc.  One study that looks at the choice of energy efficiency investments, which has probably been forgotten because it is not recent, but which suggests this sort of approach, is Ronald Sutherland, "Market Barriers to Energy-Efficiency Investments", in The Energy Journal, from 1991, at

jstor.org/stable/41322426

 

J.

Henry Craver's picture
Thank Henry for the Post!
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