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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 20. Public Utilities and Telecommunications
Agency 5. State Corporation Commission
Chapter 306. Standards for Integrated Resource Planning and Investments in Conservation and Demand Management for Natural Gas

20VAC5-306-40. Conclusion.

In sum, adoption of a formal IRP process as envisioned by § 115 of EPACT does not appear to promote and indeed may be detrimental to the public interest. This standard does not appear to offer sufficient flexibility, and may increase regulatory costs to the participants in the IRP approval process, without substantive countervailing benefits. We encourage Virginia natural gas utilities to continue to develop and employ comprehensive planning strategies. Virginia LDCs should use existing CLM procedures to seek approval for CLM programs which they can demonstrate to be in the public interest. As part of Virginia LDCs' planning strategies, we expect LDCs to maintain continuing dialogues with their customers in an effort to better ascertain these customers' energy needs and to respond to those needs. Staff should continue to work with and develop data with respect to LDC planning processes and LDC customer needs to monitor more comprehensively these utilities' planning processes and service performance.

While we do not adopt the investments in conservation and demand management standard set out at § 115 of the Act, we remain sensitive to the need for development of conservation and load management programs that are in the public interest. Because we have not adopted § 115's integrated resource planning or conservation and demand management standards, we find it unnecessary to address the impact of implementation of such standards on small businesses.

Further, the Commission remains committed to the goal of promoting cost-effective conservation programs. We believe conservation programs can promote the public interest in Virginia and can contribute to the realization of a proper balance of demand-side and supply-side resources. Conservation programs are particularly attractive because of the environmental benefits they offer. The environmental benefits of conservation programs, while often difficult to measure, are nevertheless, very real. We encourage utilities to develop conservation programs that are not only economically sound but also contribute to the protection of the environment that we all must share. We also encourage utilities to focus on energy efficiency when developing their long-term strategic plans. Energy efficiency is one of the more important factors considered by consumers in making choices between electric, gas, and oil appliances and equipment. Electric and gas utilities should compete for customers by providing accurate information about the efficiencies and features of various types of HVAC equipment. A healthy competition can be facilitated by integrated resource planning techniques. However, integrated resource planning should not be used as a tool simply to market increased use of gas or electricity or indiscriminately gain market share at the expense of a competitor.

Accordingly, for the reasons set out herein, it is ordered that the standards set out at § 115 of EPACT be rejected; and that this matter be dismissed. The papers filed herein shall be placed in the Commission's files for ended causes.

Statutory Authority

Chapter 3 (§ 12.1-12 et seq.) of Title 12.1, Chapter 10 (§ 56-232 et seq.) and Chapter 10.1 (§ 56-265.1 et seq.) of Title 10.1 of the Code of Virginia and 15 USCA § 3202.

Historical Notes

Derived from Case No. PUE940030 §IV, eff. October 14, 1994.

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