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MEEA's Guide to Utility Consumer Advocates in the Midwest

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The average Midwesterner pays 65% more for electricity than they did at the turn of the millennium. Saving energy is a key way to help lower customer bills even with rising rates. Utility Consumer Advocates (UCAs) represent residential customers before regulators and legislatures, and they use their expertise to help ensure ratepayer dollars are spent prudently and cost-effectively. What Utility Consumer Advocates Do UCAs in the Midwest are a mixture of government offices and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The type of UCA in a state is particular to the policies, history and needs of that state. In some states, UCAs play a very active role in energy efficiency proceedings, while in others do not. For those engaged in…

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The Birth and Evolution of a Successful EE Program

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In September, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy completed a case study profiling MEEA’s HVAC Savings Adjustment and Verified Efficiency (HVAC SAVE) program, which tells the story of how MEEA partnered with utilities in Iowa to launch a HVAC quality installation and quality maintenance program that has resulted in over 100,000 jobs and substantial energy savings. The study describes how increasing federal efficiency standards for HVAC equipment in 2010 encouraged Iowa utilities and program administrators to invest in quality installation programs, since this meant the associated baseline assumptions for deemed savings estimates were set to increase, ultimately lowering the incremental savings…

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Industrial EE Problems? Go Straight to the Source

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Industrial energy efficiency is losing ground in the Midwest. Though it’s one of the most cost-effective energy efficiency measures, states are increasingly allowing industrial customers to opt-out of paying into energy efficiency programs or exempting them from doing so altogether. As a result, overall energy savings and the cost-effectiveness of EE programs are on the edge of decline. Consider the sheer volume and impact of industrial processes in the Midwest and it becomes clear that opt-outs present a massive missed opportunity for industrial energy efficiency. More importantly, significant potential energy and financial savings for industrial utility customers will be lost. Thirty-eight percent of industrial sector electricity is…

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