The Bulletin Board

Utilities commission walks back energy efficiency decision, restoring NHSaves budgets to 2020-2021 levels

By: - February 10, 2022 2:05 pm

A Thursday decision restores funding for energy efficiency programs through NHSaves to 2020-2021 levels. (Mischa Keijser | Getty Images)

The Public Utilities Commission has restored funding for energy efficiency programs through NHSaves, allowing budgets to return to 2020-2021 levels, in a Thursday decision.

According to the Thursday order, the commission changed course because of the consumer advocate’s recent appeal before the New Hampshire Supreme Court, saying it is “just and reasonable and in the public interest” to approve the agreement ultimately negotiated by the Department of Justice. The consumer advocate, in return, agreed to drop his request that the order be suspended entirely.

The Office of the Consumer Advocate’s appeal was echoed by the state’s utilities, as well as Clean Energy New Hampshire, the Conservation Law Foundation, and LISTEN Community Services.

Other elements of the November decision remain intact, but would be addressed through a bill – House Bill 549 – that has been hurried through the Legislature. Advocates say this bill will address some of the uncertainty created by the November decision cutting energy efficiency funding, by reinstating components of the program such as evaluation, measurement and verification, cost-benefit testing, budget carry-forwards, and incentives for utility performance. But it stops short of putting the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard into state law.

“We’ve stopped the bleeding,” said Sam Evans-Brown, executive director of Clean Energy New Hampshire in a tweet Thursday. “We’ve demonstrated the bi-partisan appeal of efficiency programs. What’s the next – best – step?”

Public Utilities Commission PDF 2:10:2022

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee reported on energy and environment for New Hampshire Bulletin. She also previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.