RD234 - The 2019 Report of the Independent Monitor on the Status of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Stakeholder Process
During the 2018 General Assembly session, legislation was approved relating to electric utility regulation, grid modernization and energy efficiency requiring Appalachian Power (APCo) and Dominion Energy Virginia (DEV) to each develop a proposed program of energy conservation measures. Each utility is required to utilize a stakeholder process to gather and receive input and feedback for the development of proposed energy efficiency programs to be filed with the State Corporation Commission (SCC) for review and approval. The intended result is to have petitions that are filed with the SCC for its review, that have included the knowledge, expertise, and buy-in of the energy efficiency stakeholders so that implementation will contribute to the desired energy conservation goals of the state.
Chapter 397 of the 2019 Virginia Acts of the Assembly, as directed by § 56-585.1 of the Code of Virginia, mandates that the process must be facilitated by an independent monitor, to ensure representation of stakeholders, progress toward obtaining input and feedback, and to report on the stakeholder process objectives, stakeholder recommendations, the status of the recommendations, and status of petition filings. This report by the independent monitor is submitted in accordance with Chapter 397.
• Develop trust among stakeholders and create an environment for open information sharing and constructive discussion between stakeholders.
• Ensure stakeholder awareness and clarity about the stakeholder process objectives and timeline for the short and long-term.
• Obtain input and prioritization for the development of the utilities’ 2019 proposed energy efficiency programs/petition filings and facilitate ongoing feedback and discussion about conservation measures.
• Establish a foundation for stakeholder group development and focus to address energy efficiency in Virginia in subsequent years.
Status of Recommendations
Dominion Energy Virginia released an RFP for energy efficiency programs based upon the recommendations of the stakeholder group. The RFP focused on 16 program areas, primarily divided between residential and non-residential programs. The program areas in the RFP contain specific suggestions from the stakeholder group, including home retrofits, programs for multi-family units, manufactured housing, electric vehicles, and consumer education and behavioral programs. To encourage innovation, DEV included a new program category to allow proposals for programs not identified in its DSM portfolio or RFP. A list of the 16 areas is provided below with more details in the report.
• Home Retrofit
DEV received 43 proposals from the RFP, which are under review. Selection of proposals will inform the petition filing. The DEV stakeholder group will provide feedback on the anticipated filing at the fourth stakeholder group meeting.
Status of Petition Filings
1) Develop a stakeholder group vision and strategic or guiding plan. This will help define the roles and responsibilities of the group, what it is trying to achieve, and a way to focus on the activities and outcomes that are most important and pressing to promote energy efficiency in Virginia.
2) Establish working groups to address multiple issues simultaneously. Given the complexity and scope of energy efficiency issues, other states’ have adopted workgroup, or sub-group, formats so that multiple issues can be worked on simultaneously to make the group more effective and efficient. There are sufficient additional ideas and objectives that have been raised by each utility stakeholder group to warrant consideration of a sub-group approach.
3) Develop stakeholder group written policies and procedures. To further define and codify member roles and responsibilities, group decision-making, and meeting logistics. In order to continue to drive interest, participation, and support for the stakeholder process, it is important to give members larger roles and responsibilities in the process yet have commonly agreed upon approaches and operations.
4) Implement a stakeholder recommendation tracking process. In the first year the focus of obtaining input and recommendations was on generation of ideas to inform the utilities in their development. As the stakeholder process and groups and programs mature, more detailed capturing of recommendations will be important. To build greater transparency in the process as well as trace ideas to results, a recommendation tracking process, used by other similar groups, will help to demonstrate usage of recommendations and the direct outcomes from those ideas.