MEEA Policy Insider - May 2020

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:


Given the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government, state governments, local governments, institutions, utilities and other organizations have taken actions to promote or require degrees of social distancing. States are in various stages of resuming activity. Utility commissions, state legislatures and state energy offices have been impacted, including delay or suspension of state legislative sessions and other state activities. Additionally, utilities throughout the Midwest are considering how and when to resume their energy efficiency programs impacted by the pandemic.

MEEA is tracking impacts 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.

An Introduction to Four Federal Stimulus Priorities (Recording)

On May 19, MEEA hosted a webinar with leaders at the Alliance to Save Energy for an introduction to ASE’s top initiatives for a recovery stimulus bill: the Small Business Energy Efficiency Grant Program, the Mission Critical Facility Renewal Program, transportation and infrastructure investments and expansion of the Energy Efficiency Tax Credits. See the recording.

COVID-19 Impacts Webinar (Recording)

On April 15, MEEA held a webinar looking at the broad impact of COVID-19 on energy efficiency in the region. The webinar provides policy updates, responses, status of programs, resources and some considerations as the industry faces setbacks. See the presentation slides and recording.

Other Recent Webinars

Exploring On-Bill Financing Across the Midwest (Recording)

On-bill financing is becoming more prevalent in the EE industry, allowing residential customers to fund efficiency projects. In this webinar MEEA walked through on-bill financing's application throughout the Midwest. Then, Slipstream shared their key learnings from administering on-bill programs around the country and how these programs vary per customer segment. See the recording.

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Illinois’ legislature convened on May 19, 21 and 22 to consider legislation including economic revitalization and to pass a budget. Illinois’ Spring session formally ends May 31st.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) (H.B. 3624; S.B. 2132) along with its energy efficiency provisions did not receive a vote. The bill saw subject-matter hearings in both the House and Senate prior to disruptions. The Senate Energy Committee chaired by Senator Hastings held several energy working group meetings in April and May and heard testimony on elements of CEJA. Energy efficiency was not a focus of these meetings.


On April 20, the Illinois Commerce Commission joined regulators and advocates in filing a petition against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over its Minimum Price Offering Rule (MOPR), which they are concerned shifts more costs to customers and creates a disadvantage for clean energy.

The Illinois Energy Efficiency Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) will spend most of 2020 facilitating an EE portfolio planning process between utilities and stakeholders. The objective is for consensus to be reached prior to utilities filing plans for approval with the Illinois Commerce Commission on March 1, 2021. Interested parties are encouraged to participate.

Due to COVID-19, large group and working group meetings will be held via teleconference until further notice. Meeting information, COVID-19 updates and documents can be found on the SAG website.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Illinois or to get more involved, contact Nick Dreher.

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The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) has consolidated several consumer advocate cases into Cause 45380 to address relief regarding the impact on utility operations from the COVID-19 emergency.

Integrated resource planning is ongoing for Indiana utilities. Current filing deadlines for the next IRPs are:

  • Vectren: June 30, 2020
  • NIPSCO: Nov 1, 2021

Utility stakeholder meetings will continue during the planning period. Updates from the commission on IRPs in Indiana will be posted to the IURC’s IRP page.

How to Get Involved

IRP meetings are all open to the public. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend. If you have any questions about Indiana or want to get more involved, contact Greg Ehrendreich.  


On March 20, 2020, DTE submitted a revised IRP including energy waste reduction (EWR) levels of 1.75% in 2020, prorated based on the date of the final order in this case, and 2.0% in 2021. On April 15, the MPSC issued a final order approving the utility’s revised IRP. The MPSC continues to work on Case No. U-20757, which looks to understand COVID’s impact on utilities, energy efficiency programs and utility customers. MPSC staff is tasked with writing a report that will combine utility survey responses and stakeholder input in the Energy Waste Reduction collaborative and Low-Income EWR Work Group meetings. The report will provide an update on energy efficiency program continuity and is due on June 15.

The Commission also asked for comments on implementation of shared savings mechanisms. Comments are due by June 16, and additional details of the MPSC’s request can be found here.


Michigan’s 2020 legislative session kicked off on January 8 and is expected to conclude June 11 (with tentative dates scheduled the weeks of June 16 and June 23). Due to COVID-19 concerns, the House and Senate adjourned until March 25. The legislature has since convened periodically, most recently on May 26 and 27.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Illinois or to get more involved, contact Nick Dreher.


On December 2, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 19-37, establishing both the Climate Change Subcabinet and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change. The subcabinet, which will consist of members from fifteen cabinet-level agencies, will come up with recommendations to help the state to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals. The appointed members of the citizens’ advisory council will advise the cabinet and the Walz administration on ways to mitigate climate change, improve resiliency and increase interagency collaboration. As of May, members of the subcabinet and advisory council had not yet been appointed.


The Minnesota legislature closed its 2020 session on May 17. Though much attention this session was on the Clean Energy First Act (HF1405; SF1456), the bill was laid on the table without a vote in either the House or the Senate.

The Energy Conservation and Optimization Act (HF4502; SF4409) passed the House on May 11, but was not voted on by the Senate prior to session adjournment. ECO would expand the Conservation Improvement Program to allow for beneficial electrification. The bill would also eliminate utility minimum spend requirements for energy conservation, double the electric IOUs’ minimum spend requirements for low-income customers and increase the energy savings goal for electric IOUs from 1.5% to 1.75% of annual retail sales.  

Numerous energy-related bills were introduced this session. HF3436 would allocate $131.5 million to renewable and energy efficiency projects, HF3955 would alter the low-income Conservation Improvement Program and SF4219 would alter the procedure for adopting new energy building codes. None of these bills were passed prior to adjournment.

A special session is anticipated this summer. Dates for this session and caucus legislative priorities are yet to be announced. ECO’s sponsors and supporters are hopeful that the bill can be passed during this upcoming special session.


On March 10 Governor Walz appointed State Commerce Department Deputy Commissioner of Energy Resources Joseph Sullivan to the Public Utilities Commission. Sullivan began his six-year term on April 6, though the appointment will be reviewed by the Minnesota Senate.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Illinois or to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz.

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On May 13, Ameren Missouri filed an application to extend their current 3-year energy efficiency programs one year to December 31, 2022, to avoid filing an IRP and MEEIA Cycle 4 application in the same year as is currently scheduled. The proposed budget for program year 2022 is $75 million and includes a $2 million Pay as You Save (PAYS) pilot that will begin in program year 2022.

On May 6, Evergy filed a request for an Accounting Authority Order to account and receive recovery for costs related to COVID-19 expenses. The deadline to intervene in the case is June 1.

On April 8, the Office of Public Counsel submitted a Second Application for Rehearing of issues from Evergy’s MEEIA Cycle 3 regulatory proceeding on the grounds that the Commission’s order approving the portfolio of programs was unlawful and counter to the MEEIA statute. OPC claims that because Evergy did not demonstrate avoided costs (as defined) resulting from programs, the portfolio does not value demand-side investments equal to traditional investments in supply and delivery infrastructure (as required by MEEIA) and departs from the statutorily preferred cost effectiveness test, the total resource cost test. On May 28, the Commission voted to deny a rehearing, though an official order has not been released.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Missouri or to get more involved, contact Samarth Medakkar


On February 26, the PUCO ruled that the 2020 EE portfolios shall run through September 30, 2020,  ramping down and terminate on December 31, 2020. On November 25, 2019, MEEA and other interested parties submitted public comments to the PUCO as part of the EE docketed proceedings. Although it is unclear what EE in Ohio will look like after 2020, utilities will likely file voluntary EE plans next year.

On March 27, Duke Energy requested a rehearing to resolve the cost true up, lost distribution revenues and shared savings associated with energy efficiency programs through December 31, 2020. On April 22, the PUCO granted Duke’s request for rehearing.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Ohio or to get more involved, contact Nick Dreher.

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On May 21, Governor Evers’ Task Force on Climate Change met virtually for their 3rd meeting. The Task Force, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, discussed a wide range of issues and will continue to meet over the summer. The Task Force is now charged with issuing recommendations by October 31, 2020, following an extension approved by Governor Evers.


The Wisconsin legislature has adjourned for the year. Committees will continue to meet in the coming months. Governor Evers may call a special session to respond to COVID-19 and to make adjustments to the state’s budget, but no additional session dates are scheduled at this time.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Wisconsin or to get more involved, contact Nick Dreher.

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On May 12, the House introduced and later passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES) Act. Among other provisions, the bill would increase low-income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP) funding to $1.5 billion through 2021, expand the Payment Protection Program and supply another $1,200 direct payment to eligible individuals. The bill was given its first reading in the Senate on May 21.

On March 27, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which provides relief for individuals, state and local governments, large corporations, public health organizations and small businesses. On April 24th, Congress approved additional $310 billion for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. For a breakdown of the relief package, eligibility and resources, see our blog post.


On March 18, PJM filed a compliance filing in accordance with the MOPR order. In the filing, PJM proposes to post specific schedules for upcoming auctions by either June 15 or 14 days after FERC approves the filing, whichever date is later.

On December 19, 2019 the FERC voted 2 to 1 to issue an order making changes to PJM’s capacity market and MOPR. In short, all new resources, including energy efficiency and demand response, will need to meet higher price floors. This will likely negatively impact renewable resources, EE and DR. On April 16, FERC voted to uphold this December ruling, denying requests for a rehearing to reconsider the December order. For a comprehensive summary on the complexities of the MOPR and capacity markets you can read this Vox article.

The Senate voted to confirm James Danly to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Commissioner Danly’s term runs through June 30, 2023.


On May 13, E4TheFuture, E2 and the American Council on Renewable Energy released their April Clean Energy Jobs Impact Analysis. Data indicates that since March, the Midwest EE industry lost 96,672 jobs. Nationally, the energy efficiency sector lost about 413,500 jobs since March. Visit MEEA’s COVID-19 web page to see the impacts on each state and see our blog post.

How to Get Involved

For more information about how this federal activity will impact the region or to get more involved, contact Nick Dreher.


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