The MEEA Policy Insider summarizes the latest state policy activity and provides new resources to aid members in their outreach, education and advocacy initiatives.
In this issue:
- COVID-19 Update
- State Updates: IL / IN / IA / KS / KY / MI / MN / MO / OH / WI
- Federal Update
- New Resources & Blog Posts
The efficiency workforce has not fully recovered from the economic slowdown and social distancing in late spring of 2020 that carried into the summer. However, most utility programs and state weatherization programs have resumed, some with alterations including virtual elements or limited direct customer interaction.
MEEA is tracking impacts, program responses and recovery from COVID-19 and sharing resources as the situation evolves. For consolidated information, see MEEA’s COVID-19 resources page. Members who are able to share information about utility program and energy service impacts or have any resource needs, please contact Policy Director Nick Dreher.
State Energy Planning: Buildings, Industry and Transportation
MEEA was joined by state energy officials and experts in energy planning on December 8 for a webinar that discussed ongoing planning processes in key sectors, including opportunities for energy efficiency. The recording can be accessed See the recording >>
Federal Legislative Update: EE Implications
MEEA hosted a webinar on November 18 sharing federal policy updates from the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), the Alliance to Save Energy, the Building Performance Association (BPA) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). The topics discussed included the infrastructure and reconciliation bills, the Main Street Efficiency Act, the HOPE for HOMES Act and appliance standards. See the presentation slides and recording >>
Missed Opportunities: The Impact of Recent Policies on Energy Efficiency Programs in Midwestern States
On November 4, MEEA’s policy team, along with Synapse Energy Economics, held a webinar to roll out our report which details the missed opportunities and impacts of recent rollbacks to energy efficiency policies. See the recording >>
On September 15, Governor Pritzker signed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, a bill that establishes a power sector decarbonization target of 2045, creates clean energy workforce development pathways and expands commitments to energy efficiency. The bill’s energy efficiency pieces are listed below:
- Extends cumulative energy savings targets for utilities beyond 2030;
- Creates an energy efficiency program opt-out provision that replaces the former industrial/large energy-user exemption;
- Reorganizes and establishes several utility commitments to low-income programming and health/safety improvement funding;
- Enables electrification under electric energy efficiency programs and
- Directs the Illinois Capital Development Board to create a residential and commercial energy stretch code for voluntary adoption by municipalities.
On March 1, Illinois investor-owned utilities filed their energy efficiency programs. As of August 18, all IOU portfolio plans for program years 2022-2025 have been approved. The final orders are linked below. As a result of CEJA’s passage, utilities will be working with the ICC and advocates to incorporate CEJA requirements into these plans over the coming months.
- Ameren Illinois (#21-0158)
- ComEd (#21-0155)
- Nicor Gas (#21-0154)
- Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas (#21-0159)
How to Get Involved
All Illinois EE Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) large group and working group meetings will be held via teleconference until further notice. SAG meeting information, COVID-19 updates and documents can be found on the SAG website.
The 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force has finished its meetings for this year. The agendas, speaker lists and recordings are available for all past sessions on the Task Force page. The Task Force will schedule additional meetings next summer with its final report on the two-year process due in Fall 2022.
Integrated resource planning has mostly concluded for 2021 for Indiana utilities.
- Duke Energy Indiana has completed the stakeholder meetings for its 2021 IRP stakeholder process. The plan was filed with the IURC on December 15.
- Indiana Michigan Power has concluded its 2021 IRP process. Its plan is due to the IURC on December 31.
- NIPSCO has submitted its 2021 IRP, and it has been posted on the IURC website.
Updates from the Commission on IRPs in Indiana will be posted to the IURC’s IRP page. The Draft Directors Reports on the 2021 IRPs should be out in early 2022.
How to Get Involved
IRP meetings are all open to the public. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend. They are typically announced through utility mailing lists. For help finding the utility mailing list sign-up and IRP meeting registration, or for other questions about Indiana, contact
On December 14, MidAmerican Energy filed several EM&V reports on select energy efficiency programs, including its Income-Qualified Multifamily program, Education program and Appliance Recycling program.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Iowa or to get more involved, contact Samarth Medakkar.
On December 6, the Kansas Corporation Commission issued an order approving a settlement and agreement on Evergy’s Transportation Electrification Portfolio (Docket No. 21-EKME-320-TAR) proposal. The approved agreement will allow Evergy to implement the portfolio from February 1, 2022 through January 31, 2027 and includes:
- Commercial EV Charger Rebate program
- Program budget $10 million, $1.6 million required to be spent in underserved area.
- Residential Rebate program
- Aims to understand charging impacts and incent Level 2 charging adoption (managed charging) including 240V outlet or hardwired charging
- $250 base rebate for installing an EV charger; additional $250 rebate if the customer enrolls in a time-of-use rate (TOU) rate program
- Customer Education program
- Program budget of $2.3 million and includes education on TOU rates
Evergy is expected to file an application for energy efficiency programs under the Kansas Energy Efficiency Investment Act in the coming months.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Kansas or to get more involved, contact Samarth Medakkar.
Governor Beshear and the state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet recently released a new state energy plan, Kentucky Energy, Environment & Economic Development: Designs for a Resilient Economy. The plan outlines community-centric initiatives and design goals for the future of Kentucky’s energy economy. A guiding principle for the plan is to address the energy sector holistically and promote the utilization of all the state’s energy resources, namely energy efficiency and conservation.
The plan also highlights more specific components, including future incentivization of advanced manufacturing opportunities in key sectors like EVs, rapid apprenticeships and certifications for a skilled workforce and encouragement of resilient, grid-connected buildings.
The full plan is available to read here.
Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities Energy (LG&E and KU Energy) filed their 2021 integrated resource plan on October 19. The plan highlights the impact of energy efficiency improvements on the residential and small commercial sales forecasts. By 2036, energy efficiency improvements in the base forecast reduce residential and commercial sales by over 6 percent (compared to a case where end-use efficiencies remain unchanged). Additionally, the 2019-2025 Demand Side Management – Energy Efficiency (“DSM-EE”) Program Plan includes programs to support continued energy efficiency measures for low-income customers and nonresidential customers, in addition to residential and nonresidential demand conservation. The full submitted IRP can be found here, case number 2021-00393.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Kansas or to get more involved, contact Amanda Caloras.
Last fall, Governor Whitmer announced a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 through an executive order and an executive directive. Through the order, Michigan will work towards carbon neutrality by reducing emissions from public buildings, emphasizing carbon neutrality in utility IRPs and adding renewable energy in state facilities and lands.
The executive order created the Council on Climate Solutions. The Council has created five workgroups: Buildings and Housing, Energy Intensive Industries, Energy Production, Transmission, Distribution and Storage, Natural Working Lands and Forest Products, and Transportation and Mobility. These workgroups will help the Council identify and recommend strategies to reduce the state’s emissions and help communities most impacted by climate change. MEEA is participating on both the Buildings and Housing and Energy Intensive Industries working groups. The workgroups presented to the broader council this fall, and EGLE hosted public commenting sessions on December 1 and 2. More information on the workgroup recommendations and listening sessions can be found here.
The Energy Affordability and Accessibility Collaborative has decided that the bulk of the collaborative’s work will take place in the group’s subcommittees: Affordability, Alignment, and Assistance; Outreach and Education; Data Analysis and Regulatory Review; and Definitions.
MI Power Grid working groups continue to meet. The MPSC recently released a status report on MI Power Grid, as the initiative has wrapped up its second year. The report summarizes the work of each working group to date and also highlights what additional work can be done in the initiative’s third and final year. The Energy Programs and Technology Pilots working group recently unveiled the Michigan Pilot Directory to increase transparency around the results and learnings from utility pilot programs. Additionally, the Advanced Planning Processes working group will host a meeting on Integrated Resource Planning on December 16.
Guidehouse completed and released the state’s Energy Waste Reduction Statewide Potential Study (2021-2040), which can be found here. The Demand Response Statewide Potential Study can be found here. More information on the potential studies, including methodology and modeling results, can be found on the MPSC topic page.
Energy Waste Reduction plans were recently filed with the MPSC. Many utilities contract with the statewide administrator, Efficiency United, to run their programs. Thus, proceedings often focus more on overall budgets and energy savings goals as opposed to details of individual programs. The dockets for the EWR plans can be found here:
- U-20874: Alpena Power Company
- U-20875: Consumers Energy Company
- U-20876: DTE- Electric
- U-20877: Indiana Michigan Power Company
- U-20878: Northern States Power Company
- U-20879: Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO)
- U-20880: Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corporation (UMERC)
- U-20881: DTE - Gas
- U-20882: Michigan Gas Utilities Corporation
- U-20883: SEMCO Energy Gas Company
How to Get Involved
For more information about Michigan or to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz.
- Establish a revolving loan account which would fund energy efficiency upgrades for state facilities;
- Create the Energy Transition Office, which would help assist communities experiencing economic distress from power plant retirements;
- Extend the Cold Weather Rule by banning disconnections for customers complying with a payment plan from October 1 to April 30 (previously October 15 to April 15);
- Create the Minnesota Efficient Technology Accelerator, where a Minnesota nonprofit would collaborate with technology manufacturers to accelerate the deployment of energy efficient technologies;
- Authorize natural gas utilities to file plans with the PUC outlining their usage of innovative resources that displace traditional natural gas;
- Fund a pilot program to connect young adults in underserved communities with job trainings in clean energy and energy efficiency sectors and
- Require the PUC to study the role of natural gas utilities in achieving the state’s carbon reduction goals.
Additional details on the compromise can be found here. Some energy efficiency-related provisions did not make it into the final bill, like the provision to strengthen the state’s commercial energy codes or funding for an innovative clean energy finance authority.
Prior to the close of session, the Energy Optimization and Conservation (ECO) Act passed after a conference committee reached a compromise on the remaining areas of disagreement between the two chambers. The Act was signed by Governor Walz. ECO will expand and modernize the state’s Conservation Improvement Program by increasing utilities’ energy savings goals, allowing beneficial electrification and expanding low-income energy efficiency, among other things. ECO was sponsored by Sen. Rarick and Rep. Stephenson, and the bill ultimately passed with bipartisan support in both chambers. To explain the details of the Conservation Improvement Planning overhaul, MEEA wrote a summary analysis of ECO.
The ECO Act tasks the Department of Commerce with forming several pieces of guidance. Commerce has begun a stakeholder process to help determine energy efficiency program eligibility for low-income customers in multifamily buildings. It has also created the ECO Act Implementation Coordinating Committee and three workgroups—electric vehicle sales workgroup, load management and efficient fuel-switching—where stakeholders will work to provide ideas and draft guidance for consideration. More information on the Coordinating Committee and the workgroups can be found here. The electric vehicle sales wrapped up its work and submitted a draft proposal to Commerce in early December due to the tight statutory timeline. The other two workgroups will continue to meet in December and January.
The investor-owned utilities have also submitted modifications to their triennial CIP plans to comply with the new low-income spending requirements of the ECO Act.
The PUC has opened a few dockets to fulfill requirements in legislation that passed this session.
- Docket 21-565- The PUC will evaluate changes to natural gas utility regulatory and policy structures needed to meet or exceed Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals.
- Docket 21-566- Natural gas utilities will have the opportunity to present the commission with plans to study and utilize alternative and innovative energy resources, like renewable natural gas, biogas and hydrogen.
- Great Plains Institute is leading stakeholder meetings on this docket. The meetings aim to help Commerce understand how to evaluate the cost effectiveness of renewable natural gas and other resources, including energy efficiency. This stakeholder group will continue to meet every Friday (except holidays) through January 28.
- Docket 21-548- The Minnesota Efficient Technology Accelerator (META) program seeks nonprofits to apply to run the accelerator, which will accelerate the deployment and reduce cost of efficient technologies. CEE filed its intent to apply in this docket.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Minnesota or to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources – Division of Energy (MoDNR) has completed its second of three rounds of regional State Energy Planning (MoSEP) meetings. Meetings focused on refining proposed initiatives and identifying champions. In the early part of 2022, MoDNR will its final round of meetings for each of the 6 regions outlined in the Summary and Action Report.
- Interested parties are encouraged to engage through meetings and the project’s Basecamp, which can be accessed by reaching out to staff’s email.
- See the plan page to join MoDNR’s mailing list, register for meetings, submit inquiries and receive recordings of meetings.
On December 15, the Commission issued an order approving Liberty-Empire Utilities' application for energy efficiency programs under the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act. The stipulation and agreement that was approved includes one year of programs for 2022-2023. Liberty intends to use this first cycle to build momentum towards a subsequent 3-year portfolio. The proposed plan includes programs for the residential, commercial, industrial and income qualified sectors. Full descriptions of programs can be found in exhibit A of the stipulation and agreement.
Ameren Missouri, Commission staff and the Office of Public Counsel reached a non-unanimous stipulation and agreement that extends the utility’s MEEIA portfolio through 2023. The stipulation includes an agreement on total budget for 2023, changes to certain programs, additional commitments and agreement to performance incentives.
On August 4, the PSC issued an order offering an opportunity to comment on the temporary ban on demand-side resource aggregators for commercial and industrial customers. The order was filed in a working docket opened for the PSC to consider the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 2222. On October 1, Commission Staff filed its report summarizing comments and recommended that the Commission establish a timeline for further stakeholder engagement on the issue.
How to Get Involved
House Bill 389 (Leland, Seitz) was introduced on August 12. The bill allows voluntary EE portfolios by the electric distribution utilities, allowing for cost recovery and for the proposal of incentives and lost revenues. It contains provisions for low-income program funding, a 0.5% annual electric energy savings target, a cost cap and an all customer opt-out provision.
- Status: According to on-the-ground sources, HB 389 will not be brought to a floor vote.
The Ohio Energy Jobs & Justice Act (House Bill 429) would renew the repealed EE standard as an Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) standard that ramps up to the previous target of 22% cumulative savings. It would also create a statewide collaborative to facilitate the EWR planning process, a cabinet-level Office of Energy Justice and a carbon reduction plan for the state, among other provisions.
- Status: The bill has been referred to the House Public Utilities Committee on October 12, but no hearings or votes have been held.
PUCO has announced a series of energy efficiency workshops to “solicit the views of stakeholders on whether cost-effective energy efficiency programs are an appropriate tool to manage electric generation costs, and how those fit into Ohio’s competitive electric and natural gas marketplaces.” The five workshops will take place March–April 2022 focusing on different customer segments for each workshop as noted below. In addition to speaking opportunities shown on the workshop site, there is also an opportunity to comment on a series of 14 questions that PUCO has posed on EE policy, portfolio and program design and other aspects of EE and DR delivery. Written responses to the PUCO questions are due by January 28, 2022.
- March 22 – Electric & natural gas industries
- March 9 – Business sector, part 1
- March 23 – Consumer sector
- March 30 – Business sector, part 2
- April 6 – Environmental sector
How to Get Involved
Please consider writing a response to some or all of the PUCO energy efficiency questions linked above. It is important that PUCO hears from a wide variety of voices with experience in the EE industry.
For more information about Ohio or to get more involved, contact Greg Ehrendreigh.
The Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy is currently working on developing a clean energy plan which will help Wisconsin adapt to future changes in the climate as mandated by Governor Evers’ executive order. Additionally, this plan will outline ways for the state to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. MEEA is participating on the plan’s advisory council. The plan is expected to be released in the next few months.
Building off the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change, a coalition of Wisconsin legislators recently unveiled a package of 22 bills pertaining to energy and the environment. Many of these bills would impact energy efficiency and Focus on Energy, including:
- LRB 3734: School weatherization and energy efficiency grants
- LRB 3675: On-bill financing
- LRB 3437: Focus on Energy funding increase
- LRB 3449: Focus on Energy low-income program
- LRB 3393: Climate change local planning
- LRB 5103: Commercial and residential stretch codes
- LRB 5051: Green jobs training grants
- LRB 5062: Energy innovation grant program
The Wisconsin PSC issued a Notice of Investigation in Docket 5-EI-158 to consider the commission’s role in the state’s transition to zero-carbon electricity generation. MEEA’s response to this docket can be found here. At the PSC’s September 2 meeting, the commissioners voted to consider some of the recommendations on resource planning and energy efficiency in the upcoming Strategic Energy Assessment and Quadrennial Planning process.
The commissioners also voted to hold a workshop on performance-based regulation, which will include discussions on energy affordability. The workshop is scheduled for January 11 at 8:30 a.m. at the PSC offices in Madison. More information can be found in the workshop announcement.
The Commission ruled on the initial scope for the Quadrennial Planning process in Docket 5-FE-104 on December 2. In that ruling, the PSC outlined which policy topics will be covered in each phase of the Quad Plan process. Phase 1 is expected to launch in March with a PSC staff memo on the following topics:
- Alignment of Focus performance goals and program offerings with decarbonization goals
- Electrification programs and offerings
- Programs and offerings for low-income customers
- Collaboration between Focus and Utility Demand Response Programs
- Utility Voluntary Programs
How to Get Involved
For more information about Wisconsin or to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz.
On December 3, the Department of Energy released a pre-publication version of its proposed rule on efficiency standards for general service lamps (GSLs) under the Energy Independence and Security Act (2007). The agency determined that the 45 lm/W efficiency standard for sales of GSLs (“backstop requirement”), expected to be triggered in January 2020 but subsequently delayed by the agency at the time, has indeed been triggered. If the ruling is finalized, it would effectively codify the transition of sales of virtually all bulbs to LEDs, excluding certain lamps for special purposes.
This draft ruling follows DOE’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from August on the definitions for GSLs and general service incandescent lamps. DOE proposed reverting the definitions back to those established by the Obama Administration in January 2017 after the Trump Administration withdrew these revised definitions and delayed the backstop requirement. The revised definitions would no longer exempt five categories of specialty incandescent lamps efficiency standards.
President Biden’s Build Back Better Act (Budget Reconciliation Bill) passed the House on November 18 in a 220-213 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate, where further modifications are expected. As it stands, the bill includes a total of $555 billion to fight climate change, with a focus on tax credits for companies and consumers that make energy efficiency- and renewable energy-related improvements. One energy-related sticking point has been a federal clean energy portfolio standard for utilities. Energy efficiency pieces include mobilization of funds for GHG reduction, residential efficiency rebates and critical facility resilience. For a summary of key energy efficiency pieces of this package, see the Alliance to Save Energy’s Build Back Better Act Summary. Note that this summary includes provisions from the House Energy and Commerce Committee mark-up from September and may be subject to revision.
On November 15, President Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill into law. It includes substantial investment in energy efficiency across sectors of the economy: for example, key provisions from the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, the Heat Efficiency through Applied Technology (HEAT) Act and the Promoting American Energy Jobs Act. The law also includes a grant for states to make energy sector cybersecurity improvements, additional funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades in public schools. See the Alliance to Save Energy’s summary of all energy efficiency pieces in this bill.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Federal issues or to get more involved, contact Nick Dreher.
- Illinois Overview: Missed Opportunities Report
- Indiana Overview: Missed Opportunities Report
- Iowa Overview: Missed Opportunities Report
- Missouri Overview: Missed Opportunities Report
- Ohio Overview: Missed Opportunities Report
- Wisconsin Overview: Missed Opportunities Report
- Missed Opportunities: The Impacts of Recent Policies on Energy Efficiency Programs in Midwestern States
- Energy Efficiency Gets a Raise Through Historic Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act
- MEEA Research: New Report Demonstrates EE's Immense Value to the Region
- Illinois Passes the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act