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 / KS / KY / MI / MN / MO / OH / WI
- Federal Update
- New Resources & Blog Posts
States and cities are in various stages of resuming economic activity and reopening businesses. There are ongoing cases in public service commissions to address or understand utility service impacts and most investor-owned utilities have implemented moratoria on shut-offs. All moratoria are set to expire by the end of the year. Debt repayment plans, replacing the moratoria, vary by state. Details can be found on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ website.
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.
Missed Opportunities: The Impact of Recent Policies on Energy Efficiency Programs in Midwestern States
November 4 | 10 – 11:30 a.m. CDT
MEEA’s policy team will join panelists from Synapse Energy Economics to discuss their recent analysis of consequences resulting from policies that constrain utility-run energy efficiency programs in the Midwest. Discover EE’s clear value to the region with a closer look into the missed opportunities for cost savings and other societal benefits in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Missouri and Wisconsin. Register here >>
Federal Policy Webinar
November 18 | 3 – 4 p.m. CDT
MEEA will be hosting a webinar providing federal policy updates on Thursday, November 18 from 3 - 4 p.m. CDT. The event will feature speakers from the National Association of State Energy Officials, the Alliance to Save Energy, the Building Performance Association (BPA) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. The topics discussed will include the infrastructure and reconciliation bills, the Main Street Efficiency Act, the renewal of federal tax credits, the HOPE for HOMES Act and appliance standards. Register here >>
State Energy Planning: Buildings, Industry and Transportation
December 8 | 1 – 2:30 p.m. CDT
What are some actionable energy efficiency policies and program strategies that can advance state energy plan objectives? How are current and ongoing state energy planning incorporating energy efficiency? Join MEEA for a webinar featuring speakers that will discuss efficiency strategies in the building, transportation and industrial sectors. Register here >>
On September 15, Governor Pritzker signed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, a bill that a 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 is ongoing for Indiana utilities.
- The IURC has released its Director’s Final Report on AES Indiana’s 2019 IRP
- Duke Energy Indiana is in its 2021 IRP stakeholder process. The next meeting will be October 27 where Duke will share stakeholder portfolios and modeling results.
- Indiana Michigan Power is engaged in its 2021 IRP process. Stakeholder Workshop 4 will be held on November 18.
- NIPSCO has presented its preferred portfolio resulting from its 2021 IRP process. According to meeting discussion from October 21, the plan will include the addition of 500,000 MWh of new DSM between 2028-2030.
The utility filing deadline for 2021 IRPs are as follows:
- Duke Energy Indiana: November 1, 2021
- NIPSCO: November 1, 2021
- Wabash Valley: November 1, 2021
- Indiana Michigan Power: December 15, 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. 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
In late winter 2020, Evergy filed an application for a Transportation Electrification Portfolio (Docket No. 21-EKME-320-TAR) including rebate programs for buildout of a Clean Charging Network (CCN), rates for charging services and an associated education and program administration budget along with program cost recovery. Evidentiary hearings (Day 1) (Day 2) were held September 20-21. Post-hearing briefs will be due on October 22. Commission staff recommended in their closing brief that the Commission approve the non-unanimous partial settlement (summary provided in Staff’s closing brief)or establish guidelines for the CCN buildout to ensure prudent investment.
Evergy concluded its process of convening stakeholders to discuss development of their energy efficiency portfolio application. It is expected to file its application in the coming months.
On September 8, KCC Chairman Andrew French was named to FERC’s joint federal-state task force on electric transmission.
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 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 of 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 workforce development and encouragement of resilient, grid-connected buildings.
Recently, Governor Beshear has made leadership appointments to the Public Service Commission. Marianne Butler, former Community Initiatives Manager for Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities Energy (LG&E and KU Energy) and Louisville District 15 Councilwoman, was appointed for a four-year term to replace the vacancy left by Talina Mathews, who is now serving as director of state regulatory policy for Southwest Power Pool. Amy Cubbage, Gov. Beshear’s general counsel, was appointed to the PSC on August 3 and will serve as vice-chair through 2023, which is the rest of former chair Michael Schmitt’s term. Commissioner Kent Chandler, former executive director of the PSC who was appointed to the commission last July, was designated as Chairman on August 3 as well.
LG&E and KU Energy filed their joint 2021 integrated resource plan on October 19. The plan highlights the impact of Demand Side Management – Energy Efficiency (“DSM-EE”) programs on residential and small commercial sales forecasts. In the base forecast, energy efficiency improvements reduce residential and commercial sales by over 6 percent by 2036 compared to a case where end-use efficiencies are assumed to remain unchanged. 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. More information on the Council and the workgroups can be found here. MEEA is participating on both the Buildings and Housing and Energy Intensive Industries working groups.
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 workgroups 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 workgroup 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 workgroup recently unveiled the Michigan Pilot Directory to increase transparency around the results and learnings from utility pilot programs. Additionally, the Electric Distribution Planning workgroup continues to explore a benefit-cost analysis framework for the state. The workgroup has its next meeting scheduled on November 3.
Additionally, 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 training 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 sets of guidance. DOC has begun a stakeholder process to help determine energy efficiency program eligibility for low-income customers in multifamily buildings. Additionally, over the next year or so, DOC will need to engage stakeholders to determine guidance on allowable pre-weatherization measures, electric vehicle charging sales and cost-effectiveness. More information on the Department’s work can be found here. DOC is hosting a meeting on November 2 to provide an overview of ECO and to detail how stakeholders can be involved in the formation of technical guidance. Register here.
Additionally, CenterPoint Energy released its modified plan for an on-bill financing pilot in coordination with the city of Minneapolis. The pilot was originally proposed in a recent rate case docket. CenterPoint hosted stakeholder workshops this summer and released a new plan, which can be found in a new docket, 21-377.
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.
- 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.
Throughout September and October, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources – Division of Energy (MoDNR) convened its first round of regional State Energy Planning (MoSEP) meetings. Interested parties were encouraged to share regional energy initiatives that advance efficiency, economic opportunity and resilience. Through the end of the year, MoDNR will hold three rounds of meetings for each of the six regions outlined in the Summary and Action Report. Following this first round of meetings, the Division of Energy will organize findings in preparation for further refinement in a second round of meetings.
See the plan page to join MoDNR’s mailing list, register for meetings, submit inquiries, receive recordings of meetings and join the process’ Basecamp.
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.
On September 15, Liberty Utilities filed its application for energy efficiency programs under the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act. Liberty proposes one year of programs for 2022-2023 for the purpose of building momentum towards a subsequent 3-year portfolio. The proposal includes programs for the residential, commercial, industrial and income qualified sectors. Full descriptions of programs can be found in Liberty’s testimony appendix.
Ameren Missouri, Commission staff and the Office of Public Counsel reached a non-unanimous stipulation and agreement that extends its 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.
How to Get Involved
House Bill 389 (Leland, Seitz) was introduced on August 12. As we previously noted, 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, has a 0.5% annual electric energy savings target, a cost cap and an all customer opt-out provision.
- Status: The House Public Utilities Committee heard proponent testimony on September 29 and opponent testimony on October 13. The next hearing is scheduled on October 27.
The Ohio Energy Jobs & Justice Act was introduced on September 21 on a Facebook-streamed press conference with co-sponsors Rep. Casey Weinstein and Rep. Stephanie Howse. The bill 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, but no hearings have been held yet.
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 in 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
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’ August 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 legislature spent much of session working on the state’s budget, which was sent and signed by Governor Evers in early July. AB27/SB47 requires the state’s IOUs to fund a consumer advocate. Unlike many other Midwestern states, Wisconsin does not have a government agency dedicated to consumer protection in utility matters. This law will direct $900,000 of ratepayer dollars annually to the state’s Citizens Utility Board, enabling it to expand its staff and better represent the state’s customers in utility cases.
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. Comments were due May 14; MEEA’s response to this docket can be found here. PSC Staff released a memo that divided commenters’ recommendations into five categories: utility resource planning, performance-based regulation, utility pilot programs, energy efficiency and affordability. 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.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Wisconsin or to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz.
On August 18, Department of Energy (DOE) posted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the definitions for general service lamps and general service incandescent lamps. DOE proposes reverting the definitions back to those established by the Obama Administration in January 2017 after the Trump Administration withdrew these revised definitions. The revised definitions would no longer exempt five categories of specialty incandescent lamps from the Energy Independence and Security Act’s (2007) efficiency standards. DOE held a public meeting on September 30 and accepted comments through October 18.
On August 13, DOE announced awardees of its Building Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) funding opportunity announcement, $82.6 million in funding for 44 projects in building materials, lighting and heating and cooling systems.
PJM Interconnection issued an initial proposal striking the expanded minimum offer price rule (MOPR), a FERC ruling in late 2019 that would raise the price floor for state-subsidized energy resources, like new energy efficiency/demand-side management and renewables, in PJM’s wholesale capacity power auctions. Instead, PJM proposes that FERC determine whether MOPR should apply to certain resources in granting a 206 complaint. PJM’s final proposal, which went into effect following September 28, removes the expanded MOPR and “narrows the scope of the MOPR … aimed at mitigating buyer-side market power; to avoid harming state policies and power providers with self-supply business models; and to make sure the market design is robust and could work well into future.”
Negotiations within Congress for Biden’s Build Back Better Act (Budget Reconciliation Bill) are ongoing. One energy-related sticking point has been a federal clean energy portfolio standard for utilities. Energy e
fficiency pieces include mobilization of funds for GHG reduction, a Clean Electricity Performance Program, residential efficiency rebates, weatherization 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 August 10, the Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill which includes substantial investment in energy efficiency across sectors of the economy, for example, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act. The bill also includes a grant for states to make energy sector cybersecurity improvements. The delay of the vote for the Senate bill is a result of garnering support for the separate House budget reconciliation bill.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Federal issues or to get more involved, contact Nick Dreher.
- Missed Opportunities: The Impacts of Recent Policies on Energy Efficiency Programs in Midwestern States
- MEEA Research: New Report Demonstrates EE's Immense Value to the Region
- Illinois Passes the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act
- Creation of Energy Stretch Code Becomes Law in Illinois
- The Effects of Electric Vehicles in Minnesota in 2030
- Telling a New Story at the Pablo Davis Elder Living Center
Recent White Papers
- Paving the Way for Decarbonization and Electrification: Energy Efficiency’s Role in an Integrated and Modernized Energy System