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regulators

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Are Electric Utilities in for a Taxi Ride?

By Energy Rant No Comments
I spent part of last week at the Smart Electric Power Alliance’s Grid Evolution Summit. In my notes I wrote, SEPA is out of the closet. They are full-throated in support of decarbonization of the grid. A carbon-free grid brings a limitless stream of what-ifs. This post features a few of those. Regulated Vertical Markets In regulated, vertically-integrated electricity markets, utilities drive decarbonization in collaboration with stakeholders across the board – cities, communities, industry, landowners, consumer advocates, regulators, legislators, and economic development authorities. I realized from Summit presentations that some utilities do better than others managing and lining up all...
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Drive-By Evaluation – Buffalo Bill at Large

By Energy Rant 3 Comments
Thank you to Mike Frischmann (our Director of Evaluation Engineering) for contributing to this week’s Rant. Eight hundred pound gorilla alert! Energy efficiency program evaluation “best practices” need a big overhaul. I am not talking about best practices for doing impact evaluation like the Uniform Methods Project. It’s disgusting that so much money is spent on standards like that and others, while ulterior motives drive program evaluation in entirely different directions. Purpose of Program Evaluation The State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network, aka SEE Action’s Energy Efficiency Program Impact Evaluation Guide, states the following are objectives of program evaluation....
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And the 2017 Oscar Goes to… AESP!

By Energy Rant One Comment
Happy New Year! I am launching 2017 with this positive, upbeat Rant (my apologies to all my Oscar the Grouch fans). I have a go / no-go test for our company’s involvement with organizations: if we are going to be members of something, we are going to participate in, benefit from, and contribute more than money to the organization. Otherwise, it is indeed a waste of money. The Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP) is an organization I’ve been involved with since 2010. That was the year I attended the big shindig, the National Conference, for the first time. Since...
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DoGooder Equity

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 2 Comments
Upon reading some manager/principal/owner interviews in business publications, the publisher asks, “What keeps you awake at night?”  My answer to that would be: Nothing.  The reason for this is utilities are regulated monopolies and the energy efficiency program portfolios they run are cost effective.  I.e., we, as an industry, are contributing to net wealth generation for consumers and not just redistributing it – it’s EE or power plants, poles and wires and either way, the consumer pays, and we are helping them pay less. A major reason I am a huge advocate of EE programs is that they are cost...
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The End of Lighting

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 4 Comments
Believe it or not, I did not have a rant topic in mind going into Saturday morning – my rant writing time.  But the fog burned off quickly as a topic came into view – one that arose during the prior week.  Incidentally, I once heard a “meteorologist” instructor say he always scolded his students for saying fog “burns” off.  Instead, they should say the fog lifted.  What?  Fog is suspended water droplets, not vapor.  Water vapor in air, or as steam, is invisible.  When fog “burns off,” it changes from visible water droplets to invisible vapor, so while “burn...
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Free Riding Poachers

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff One Comment
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about nationalizing pieces of energy efficiency programs, namely technical resource manuals from which energy impacts (savings) and measure costs are derived.  The post explained why this is a bad idea for a number of reasons.  This week features chaos at the state level. It seems states with their energy efficiency policies are parallel to people who go to Washington DC and operate in the alternate universe inside the beltway.  The longer they exist, the more schizophrenic and/or demented and/or dysfunctional they become. Utilities are forced, for lack of a better term, by regulators to meet...
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Tapeworm or Honeybee?

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Utility Stuff No Comments
Earlier this year I was partaking in an interview for a large project and we were asked a formal list of specific questions, the last of which was, why should we hire your team?  While one possible response would be to ramble on for a few minutes about how great we were as demonstrated by this, that and the other, I thought of a different direction. We are passionate about energy efficiency.  We are passionate about getting it right. We are passionate about making a difference and improving things. If you do not want these things, we are not your...
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Butterfly Wings

By Energy Efficiency, Government, Uncategorized, Utility Stuff No Comments
A couple years ago I was attending an ACEEE conference and I was speaking with a gentleman who with his company was a program implementer.  I remember him saying that program evaluators should always work for the regulators.  If evaluators worked for the program implementer, which in many cases is the utility directly, the results would be biased.  I thought, no way.  There is no way our profession is to be swayed by the desire to not make waves with the client.  As I say on our staff page I will tell people what they need to know, not what...
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Nicht Tee Kugel, Dos

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
This week I am testing an additional medium for the The Energy Rant; the cartoon.  Click here to try it out.  Send email comments with your thoughts regarding this mechanism to me at jli@michaelsenergy.com. Major barriers to EE for large commercial and industrial end users include; Lack of time Lack of expertise Lack of capital Risk aversion If you don’t think end users are short on availability, just ask them.  Most end users don’t have time to commit to energy efficiency projects and most of the rest think they don’t have time.  The ones who really don’t have time get...
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The Delectable Light Bulb

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, LEED, Sustainability One Comment
The Wall Street Journal this week weighed in on the ban on incandescent from the energy bill of 2007 signed by Bush to phase out the incandescent light bulb by 2014. Naturally, their opinion is that banning products that are essentially harmless and in demand from citizens is bad policy.  As usual, I have multiple points of view on this issue as well. First, I agree with the WSJ that ramming things like this down peoples’ throats is never a good idea.  It appears that next month we are going to see the political fallout of such lawmaking processes.  In...
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