RD234 - The 2019 Report of the Independent Monitor on the Status of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Stakeholder Process

Executive Summary:

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.

Stakeholder Process
Between January 1 and July 1, 2019, two stakeholder groups have been established, have met, and provided input and feedback on proposed energy efficiency programs. The APCo stakeholder group has 95 current members and the DEV stakeholder has 168 members. Each group represents over 15 different stakeholder affiliations, including the utilities, SCC, Department of Mines and Minerals and Energy (DMME), local government, energy conservation and efficiency groups. Each stakeholder group has held three out of four proposed meetings. During the meetings, stakeholders had multiple opportunities to provide input on areas of focus for energy efficiency programs, specific conservation measures, prioritize their recommendations, and offer feedback on initial proposed programs from each utility. The fourth meetings, to be scheduled in late July or August, will give stakeholders opportunity to review and provide feedback on proposed petition filings and set direction for the next year. To maintain ongoing communication meeting notes have been provided to stakeholders and a collaborative online site that houses all documents has been created for each group.

Stakeholder Objectives
The primary objectives of the stakeholder groups for the first year of the stakeholder process were:

• 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.

Program Recommendations
Each utility stakeholder group provided recommendations for proposed energy efficiency programs. The APCo stakeholder group provided 37 program or measure recommendations and 63 program specifications and the DEV stakeholder group proposed 23 program or measure recommendations and 78 program specifications. Both groups proposed programs and measures for low-income, elderly customers, residential customers including single and multi-family housing, non-residential customers , including commercial and industrial, and programs related to finance and incentives. Detailed information about the recommended ideas is provided in the report. In addition, the DEV stakeholder group, due to meeting timing, also used the stakeholder process to offer initial input for development of energy efficiency programs for the recently passed House Bill 2789. The stakeholder groups prioritized the recommendations as to those that could likely be included and implemented in the 2019 petition filing; those that were expansions of existing programs, need some refinement, or are better served through a supplemental processes; and those that require further study and analysis or additional input by the stakeholder groups. The recommendations that utilities proceeded with were the ones deemed clear and implementable, if approved by SCC, within the year.

Status of Recommendations
Each of the utilities has incorporated the stakeholder ideas and recommendations into the development of proposed energy efficiency programs. APCo developed draft program templates for its anticipated 2019 petition filing that it shared with its stakeholder group for review. APCo has consolidated the prioritized ideas and recommendations into three program offerings: 1) An extended low-income single family weatherization program to supplement its existing residential low-income weatherization program that started in 2015; 2) a low-income multi-family weatherization program that will also include a consumer education component; and 3) an ENERGY STAR manufactured housing program to grow the market for ENERGY STAR homes through incentives. These three programs cover the top three priority recommendations proposed by the APCo stakeholder group.

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
• New Construction
• Home Energy Management Systems
• Multi-family Targeted
• Manufactured housing
• Energy Efficiency Kits
• Electric Vehicles
• Enhanced Behavioral


• Behavioral
• Targeted Sector
• Upstream and Midstream Efficient Products
• New Construction
• Strategic Energy Management
• Agricultural Energy Efficiency
• New Programs

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
Filing of petitions for 2019 will occur after the submission of this report. Petitions are expected to be filed by APCo in September 2019 and by DEV in October 2019. Determinations and program status for the calendar year 2019 petitions will be reported in the 2020 Annual Report.

Next Steps
In the first six months, the stakeholder groups have made progress toward providing input and review of APCo’s and DEV’s proposed energy efficiency programs. The stakeholder groups have expressed great interest and supplied recommendations to strengthen and enhance the stakeholder process. Based upon the input from the stakeholders, and a review of similar groups in other states, the independent monitor suggests that the stakeholder groups undertake the following best practices as next steps:

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.