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:
- Upcoming Webinars
- State Updates: IL / IN / IA / KS / KY / MI / MN / MO / OH / WI
- Federal Update
- New Resources & Blog Posts
Upcoming MEEA Webinars
IIJA Weatherization Implementation
June 22 | 12 – 1:00 p.m. CDT
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) includes a historic $3.5 billion investment in the Weatherization Assistance Program to reduce energy burdens, improve housing quality and create jobs. Join MEEA for a deep dive on the weatherization initiatives within IIJA, including how funds will be allocated, meeting workforce development needs, the Justice40 initiative and opportunities for stakeholders to support implementation. Register here >>
SB 3866, a bill that amends the Energy Transition Act of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, passed both chambers and awaits approval from the Governor. The bill includes several provisions, which are summarized on the bill page linked above. The bill does not contain any provisions that impact energy efficiency.
The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act was signed by Governor Pritzker in September 2021. CEJA establishes a power sector decarbonization target of 2045, creates clean energy workforce development pathways and expands commitments to energy efficiency.
The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) will hold its first Equitable Energy Upgrade Program (EEUP) workshop on June 7 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. CDT. Workshops are open to all interested stakeholders. To be added to the distribution list, reach out to Jennifer.Morris@illinois.gov with the subject line “Illinois EEUP Workshop Series Invitation.”
EEUP is a financing tool created by CEJA and modeled based on Pay As You Save®. The program allows customers to finance energy projects through a tariff on their utility bill and is to be designed for immediate energy savings. CEJA requires the ICC to establish guidelines for EEUP through these workshops.
Below are upcoming Stakeholder Advisory Group meetings in June. Follow the link to the SAG calendar for meeting details and registration.
- First SAG Equity Subcommittee Meeting (June 6)
- Market Transformation Savings Working Group Meeting (June 13)
- First Policy Manual Subcommittee Meeting (June 23)
- Deadline for submitting issue proposals for consideration in the Policy Manual Update process (June 10)
On May 13, ComEd filed its 2022 Quarter 1 report for its 2022-25 energy efficiency portfolio.
On March 1, 2021, Illinois investor-owned utilities filed their energy efficiency programs for program years 2022-2025, which were approved in August 2021. As a result of CEJA’s passage, utilities worked with the ICC and advocates to incorporate CEJA requirements into the approved plans. Both ComEd and Ameren Illinois’ revised stipulated agreements and plans have been filed to the ICC as of May 2022 and await its approval.
- 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 Indiana legislature has adjourned, but it is reported that they will be returning on May 24 to address technical corrections and vetoes.
The 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force will schedule additional meetings this summer with its final report on the two-year process due in Fall 2022. The agendas, speaker lists and recordings are available for all past sessions on the Task Force page.
Commissioner Stefanie Krevda was reappointed to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on April 8 by Governor Holcomb. She is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment, NARUC Committee on Critical Infrastructure, NARUC Subcommittee on Clean Coal and Carbon Management, and participates in the NARUC-DOE Nuclear Energy Partnership.
2022 integrated resource planning continues for Indiana utilities.
- AES Indiana (formerly IP&L) continues its IRP public advisory meeting sequence. Meeting #3 is slated for May/June 2022, but has not been scheduled yet.
- NIPSCO's expected 2022 IRP has been extended to 2024. Its most recent IRP was filed in November 2021.
- CenterPoint Energy's due date for its IRP has been extended to November 1, 2023.
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 are expected in Spring 2022.
How to Get Involved
IRP meetings are all open to the public. They are typically announced through utility mailing lists. Comment periods for recently filed IRPs are ongoing. See the IURC page for comment deadlines.
Iowa’s legislative session continued through its scheduled end date of April 19 and adjourned on May 25.
- SF 2383 & HF 2569: The Senate version of Governor Reynolds’ Workforce Development Omnibus passed both chambers. Previously, the bill included language which would codify the IECC 2012 building energy code (with 2009 amendments), and in doing so, shift authority for building energy code updates to the legislature, making it more difficult to update. This provision was struck from the final version of the bill.
- SF 2325: This bill extends authorization of the Iowa Energy Center within the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) through July 1, 2027, and, related to eligibility for the IEDA’s high-quality jobs program and workforce housing tax incentive program, changes the criteria for designating an “economically distressed area.” The bill was signed by the Governor.
- SF 2224: This bill would require landlords to disclose utility costs to prospective renters, including an average unit over the previous year, the cost of similar units in the case of new construction or the cost of similar units owned by the landlord. The bill also requires utilities to share the necessary utility cost information with landlords. The bill did receive not a vote this session.
Iowa investor-owned utilities’ Energy Efficiency Portfolio (EEP) planning process is currently underway. Utilities will file new five-year plans (2024-2028) with the Iowa Utilities Board in November 2022. Stakeholders have an opportunity to submit program proposals by June 1.
On May 1, Iowa utilities filed their annual energy efficiency reports for 2021. Follow the links below for the respective reports. An annual report review meeting will be held on Monday, June 20 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. CDT. Stakeholders can submit questions for utilities to address during the meeting to Kristine.Koch@oca.iowa.gov on or before Friday, June 3.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Iowa or to get more involved, contact Samarth Medakkar.
On December 17, Evergy filed its application for an energy efficiency proposal in Kansas under the Kansas Energy Efficiency Investment Act (see the updated plan filing here). Testimony in this case was filed on April 8. Additionally, the procedural schedule was modified to include a public comment and public hearing period in late June/early July to solicit views from Evergy customers. Below are key upcoming dates in this case:
- June 17: Staff/Intervenor Direct Testimony Due
- June 24: Staff/Intervenor Cross-Answering Testimony Due
- June 27: Public Hearing via Zoom
- July 8: Public Comment Period Ends
On March 23, Chairman Dwight D. Keen of the Kansas Corporation Commission was reappointed by Governor Kelly to a second four-year term as Commissioner.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Kansas or to get more involved, contact Samarth Medakkar.
In October 2021, Governor Beshear and the State’s Energy and Environment Cabinet 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 Kentucky legislature adjourned the 2022 regular session on April 14. Governor Beshear vetoed HCR 138 in its entirety. As detailed in the Governor’s veto message, this resolution was set to begin the process of studying and designing an alternative rate mechanism for public utilities regulated by the Public Service Commission, allowing for increased rates and less Commission oversight.
On the last day of session, the legislature failed to confirm Governor Beshear’s appointee to the Kentucky Public Service Commission, Amy Cubbage. This follows the events of a few months ago, when the legislature also did not confirm Beshear’s other pick, Marianne Butler. There is now only one Commissioner at the PSC, Chairman Kent Chandler. The Governor advised that the sole Commissioner is considered the majority of the Commission, and as a result, is able to make decisions, like approving the $2.8 billion sale of Kentucky Power to Liberty Utilities on May 4.
LG&E and KU’s 2021 IRP process is ongoing. Updates can be found through the KY PSC. Comments can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org including the case number (2021-00393) in the subject line and full name and place of residence in the body. Case-related comments submitted online or by other means while a case is in progress become a part of the official case record and are publicly available online.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Kansas or to get more involved, contact Amanda Caloras.
The Council on Climate Solutions, created by Governor Whitmer’s fall 2020 executive order, has been working to implement the Governor’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by mid-century. The Council has created five workgroups to help inform the state’s climate plan: Buildings and Housing; Energy Intensive Industries; Energy Production, Transmission, Distribution and Storage; Natural Working Lands and Forest Products; and Transportation and Mobility.
After the release of a draft plan in January, the Council on Climate Solutions released the final MI Healthy Climate Plan on April 21.
The legislature continues to meet, though much of the focus remains on the state budget.
Representative Outman introduced HB 5619, which would extend the energy waste reduction standard. The standard sunset for municipal and cooperative utilities at the end of 2021, but this bill would extend the standard to 2026. The bill was referred to committee. Additionally, House Democrats introduced HB 5578 (SB 749 in the Senate), which deals with weatherization. Current law states that Michigan must use at least $6 million but no more than 15% of its federal low-income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP) funds for weatherization. The bill mandates that the state spends at least 10% of LIHEAP dollars on weatherization. Because Michigan has spent near the 15% cap, this would effectively increase the amount of LIHEAP funds the state spends on weatherization. The bill was referred to committee.
MI Power Grid workgroups continue to meet. MPSC Staff released their revised final report for the New Technologies and Business Models Workgroup in Docket U-20898. After a two-year hiatus, the Interconnection Standards and Worker Safety Workgroup has meetings scheduled this spring. More information on the scheduled meetings and workgroup charge can be found here. The Renewable Natural Gas Study Workgroup has held two meetings this spring and a draft report is expected to be issued this summer, prior to the third workgroup meeting. Additionally, MPSC Staff released its report for the Customer Education and Participation Workgroup. The report summarizes workgroup actions thus far, provides recommendations for Commission action and identifies other potential next steps. And lastly, Phase III-Integrated Resource Plan of the Advanced Planning Process workgroup has been meeting the last few months to work on updating the integrated resource plan filing requirements.
Energy Waste Reduction plans were filed in the fall of 2021 with the MPSC. DTE and Consumers have both recently reached settlements with intervenors. Their final EWR plans saw substantial increases to the EWR portfolios, along with increased spending in the income-qualified and multifamily sectors. More information on the Consumers Energy and DTE plans can be found on MEEA’s blog. 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
Consumers Energy is in the final stages of its IRP process. Consumers, intervenors and the Michigan Attorney General have recently agreed to a settlement that is awaiting approval by the PSC. The settlement would make Consumers one of the first investor-owned utilities in the country to stop burning coal. A final decision is expected this summer.
The PSC also recently approved the settlement between intervenors and the Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corporation (UMERC) for its IRP. The IRP commits UMERC to an energy waste reduction goal of 1.5% for the next three years.
DTE Electric is expected to file its next IRP in October 2022. DTE has held a series of customer workshops on its CleanVision Plan. Recordings of the meetings can be found on DTE’s website.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Michigan or to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz.
The Minnesota Climate Change Subcabinet has released its draft Climate Action Framework. The Subcabinet also announced that there will be six workgroups to refine the framework. The six groups are Clean Transportation, Climate-Smart Natural and Working Lands, Resilient Communities, Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings, Healthy Lives and Communities and Clean Economy. MEEA is participating in the Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings Workgroup. More information on these workgroups can be found here.
The Minnesota legislature reconvened on January 31. While many energy-related bills were introduced, most were laid over for consideration in the committee omnibus bill. The Senate Energy and Utilities Committee and House Climate and Energy Committee unveiled their omnibus energy bills, and a conference committee was formed to find agreement between them. SF 4091 is the combined bill, which was merged with a few other committee omnibus bills.
The legislature was statutorily required to end session by Monday, May 23. The legislature failed to reach agreements on several omnibus bills, including SF 4091. Though many lawmakers sought to avoid a special session, it appears that one will likely be necessary to pass some of the remaining omnibus bills.
The ECO Act tasked the Department of Commerce with forming several pieces of guidance. Commerce convened a stakeholder process to help determine energy efficiency program eligibility for low-income customers in multifamily buildings. It also created the ECO Act Implementation Coordinating Committee and three workgroups—electric vehicle sales, load management and efficient fuel-switching—where stakeholders provided ideas for consideration. All of these guidelines are in Docket 21-837, except for the multifamily guidance, which is in Docket 22-41.
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. These modifications were finalized in mid-February.
The PUC has opened a few dockets to fulfil 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 led stakeholder meetings on this docket. The meetings aimed to help Commerce understand how to evaluate the cost effectiveness of renewable natural gas and other resources, including energy efficiency.
- CenterPoint Energy submitted its proposed Natural Gas Innovation Act framework.
- This docket is on the agenda for the May 3 Commission meeting. Commissioners are set to decide what frameworks should be established for lifecycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions and what cost-benefit analysis should be used for natural gas innovation plans.
- 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.
- CEE filed its complete META application in mid-April. Comments on the proposal were due May 19.
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-DE) announced workgroups for initiatives that will move forward in the Missouri State Energy Planning (MoSEP) process. Formal workgroups will work toward summary and action reports for Cycle 1 while exploratory workgroups will further develop initiatives for consideration during Cycle 2.
- Streamlining Solar Permitting (All Regions)
- Electric Vehicles (Southwest, Kansas City)
- Residential Energy Efficiency Real Estate Valuation/Energy Efficiency on the Multiple Listing Service (Central, Kansas City)
- Energy Training and Installation at Schools (Southeast)
- Missouri Metals and Battery Storage (Southwest, Southeast)
- Knowledge Exchange (Southwest, Kansas City)
- Biofuels (Central, Southeast, North)
- Renewable Natural Gas and Hydrogen Hub (North)
- Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Education (Kansas City)
- Combined Heat and Power (Central, Southwest, St. Louis)
- Industrial Assessment Center Outreach, Awareness and Education (Southwest, St. Louis, Kansas City)
- Pay As You Save® Financing Outreach and Education (North)
On May 12, Evergy’s stipulated agreement extending its Cycle 3 energy efficiency programs under the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act (MEEIA) was approved by the Commission. Evergy proposed extending programs to allow for a potential study to inform their Cycle 4 filing and provide clarity from their 2021 IRP filing.
How to Get Involved
To join specific workgroups in the MoSEP process, email email@example.com. Interested parties are encouraged to engage through meetings and the project’s Basecamp, which can be accessed by reaching out to staff email.
House Bill 389 (Leland, Seitz) would permit 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: Sub HB 389 was reported out of committee in November. There has been no movement on this bill, and it is unclear if/when it will come 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 House Public Utilities Committee held its first hearing on this legislation on May 10, with proponent testimony from the bill’s sponsors.
PUCO has concluded its 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 are viewable on the PUCO YouTube Channel and you can find MEEA’s testimony presentation here. Follow-up comments on the workshops were due on Monday, May 23 and MEEA submitted closing comments.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Ohio or to get more involved, contact Greg Ehrendreich.
The Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy recently released its Clean Energy Plan which will help guide Wisconsin as it works to decarbonize its economy, as mandated by Governor Evers’ executive order. The plan emphasizes the role of energy efficiency in meeting the state’s carbon reduction goals. More details on the efficiency components can be found at MEEA’s blog on the Plan. MEEA participated on the plan’s advisory council.
SB 692 passed both legislative chambers and was signed by Governor Evers on March 11. The law expands the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program in Wisconsin by allowing energy reliability improvements, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, weather-related resiliency projects and stormwater control measures to access commercial PACE financing. The law also streamlines some application processes and expands building eligibility.
Building off the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change, a coalition of Wisconsin legislators unveiled a package of 22 bills pertaining to energy and the environment this session. Many of these bills would impact energy efficiency and Focus on Energy, including:
- AB 798: School weatherization and energy efficiency grants
- AB 795: On-bill financing
- AB 793: Focus on Energy funding increase
- AB 792: Focus on Energy low-income program
- AB 789: Climate change local planning
- AB 786: Commercial and residential stretch codes
- AB 784: Green jobs training grants
- AB 782: Energy innovation grant program
The majority of these 22 bills did not receive a hearing this legislative session, though it’s possible some could resurface later.
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 included discussions on energy affordability. The workshop was held on January 11. Presentations from the meeting (including MEEA’s) can be found in the docket. In an April meeting, the Commission directed Staff to continue to facilitate further action on performance-based regulation, which could include further analysis, request for public comment or additional workshops. Following this order, Staff have scheduled a second in-person workshop on performance-based regulation for June 7.
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. PSC Staff released their memo on March 8 on the following macro policies:
- 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
The Commission met on April 7 to discuss these macro policies. Overall, the Commission decided to use this Quad IV as a transitional period to understand how the Focus on Energy program can play a bigger role in reducing carbon emissions and encouraging electrification. A summary of all the Commission decisions can be found here. The Staff memo on the next phase, Micro Focus Implementation Decisions, is expected in late June.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Wisconsin or to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) contains stages of increasing efficiency standards for lighting. The Department of Energy finalized the “backstop” minimum efficiency standard of 45 lumens/Watt for screw-based lightbulbs (general service lamps) sold in the marketplace. The backstop effectively phases out virtually all sales of non-LED bulbs (i.e. incandescent, halogen) by July 2023. The import of non-compliant bulbs are permitted until January 2023, and their sale through July 2023, upon which fines would be imparted to retailers.
- Highlights from DTE and Consumers Energy’s Recent EWR Plan Settlements
- Energy Code Development, Adoption and Compliance: The Benefits of Regularly Updated Codes
- The City of Cleveland’s Progress Towards Energy Efficiency and Green Building
- Workshop Recap: Exploring Community-Based Approaches to Inclusive Energy Efficiency
- Workshop Recap: Building Your Hiring Toolbox with Workforce Development Strategies
- Midwest Cities at the Forefront of Building Performance Standards
- Planning for the Future: Aligning BCA and LCBF in DSP and IRP with the Help of NSPM
- Closing Comments on PUCO Energy Efficiency Workshop
- Comments for the Wisconsin PSC on Phase 1 of the Focus on Energy Quadrennial Plan
- Comments on Draft MI Healthy Climate Plan
- Comments for MI Power Grid Data Access and Privacy Workgroup
- Comments in response to PUCO Energy Efficiency Workshop Questions
- 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