Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 56. Public Service Companies
Chapter 23. Virginia Electric Utility Regulation Act
12/3/2020

§ 56-596.2. Energy efficiency programs; financial assistance for low-income customers.

A. Notwithstanding subsection G of § 56-580, or any other provision of law, each incumbent investor-owned electric utility shall develop proposed energy efficiency programs. Any program shall provide for the submission of a petition or petitions for approval to design, implement, and operate energy efficiency programs pursuant to subdivision A 5 c of § 56-585.1. At least 15 percent of such proposed costs of energy efficiency programs shall be allocated to programs designed to benefit low-income, elderly, or disabled individuals or veterans.

B. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, each investor-owned incumbent electric utility shall implement energy efficiency programs and measures to achieve the following total annual energy savings:

1. For Phase I electric utilities:

a. In calendar year 2022, at least 0.5 percent of the average annual energy jurisdictional retail sales by that utility in 2019;

b. In calendar year 2023, at least 1.0 percent of the average annual energy jurisdictional retail sales by that utility in 2019;

c. In calendar year 2024, at least 1.5 percent of the average annual energy jurisdictional retail sales by that utility in 2019; and

d. In calendar year 2025, at least 2.0 percent of the average annual energy jurisdictional retail sales by that utility in 2019;

2. For Phase II electric utilities:

a. In calendar year 2022, at least 1.25 percent of the average annual energy jurisdictional retail sales by that utility in 2019;

b. In calendar year 2023, at least 2.5 percent of the average annual energy jurisdictional retail sales by that utility in 2019;

c. In calendar year 2024, at least 3.75 percent of the average annual energy jurisdictional retail sales by that utility in 2019; and

d. In calendar year 2025, at least 5.0 percent of the average annual energy jurisdictional retail sales by that utility in 2019; and

3. For the time period 2026 through 2028, and for every successive three-year period thereafter, the Commission shall establish new energy efficiency savings targets. In advance of the effective date of such targets, the Commission shall, after notice and opportunity for hearing, initiate proceedings to establish such targets. As part of such proceeding, the Commission shall consider the feasibility of achieving energy efficiency goals and future energy efficiency savings through cost-effective programs and measures. The Commission shall annually review the feasibility of the energy efficiency program savings in this section and report to the Chairs of the House Committee on Labor and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor and the Secretary of Natural Resources and the Secretary of Commerce and Trade on such feasibility by October 1, 2022, and each year thereafter.

C. The projected costs for the utility to design, implement, and operate such energy efficiency programs and portfolios of programs shall be no less than an aggregate amount of $140 million for a Phase I Utility and $870 million for a Phase II Utility for the period beginning July 1, 2018, and ending July 1, 2028, including any existing approved energy efficiency programs. In developing such portfolio of energy efficiency programs and portfolios of programs, each utility shall utilize a stakeholder process, to be facilitated by an independent monitor compensated under the funding provided pursuant to subsection E of § 56-592.1, to provide input and feedback on (i) the development of such energy efficiency programs and portfolios of programs; (ii) compliance with the total annual energy savings set forth in this subsection and how such savings affect utility integrated resource plans; (iii) recommended policy reforms by which the General Assembly or the Commission can ensure maximum and cost-effective deployment of energy efficiency technology across the Commonwealth; and (iv) best practices for evaluation, measurement, and verification for the purposes of assessing compliance with the total annual energy savings set forth in subsection B. Utilities shall utilize the services of a third party to perform evaluation, measurement, and verification services to determine a utility's total annual savings as required by this subsection, as well as the annual and lifecycle net and gross energy and capacity savings, related emissions reductions, and other quantifiable benefits of each program; total customer bill savings that the programs and portfolios produce; and utility spending on each program, including any associated administrative costs. The third-party evaluator shall include and review each utility's avoided costs and cost-benefit analyses. The findings and reports of such third parties shall be concurrently provided to both the Commission and the utility, and the Commission shall make each such final annual report easily and publicly accessible online. Such stakeholder process shall include the participation of representatives from each utility, relevant directors, deputy directors, and staff members of the Commission who participate in approval and oversight of utility energy efficiency savings programs, the office of Consumer Counsel of the Attorney General, the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, energy efficiency program implementers, energy efficiency providers, residential and small business customers, and any other interested stakeholder whom the independent monitor deems appropriate for inclusion in such process. The independent monitor shall convene meetings of the participants in the stakeholder process not less frequently than twice in each calendar year during the period beginning July 1, 2019, and ending July 1, 2028. The independent monitor shall report on the status of the energy efficiency stakeholder process, including (a) the objectives established by the stakeholder group during this process related to programs to be proposed, (b) recommendations related to programs to be proposed that result from the stakeholder process, and (c) the status of those recommendations, in addition to the petitions filed and the determination thereon, to the Governor, the Commission, and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Labor and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor on July 1, 2019, and annually thereafter through July 1, 2028.

D. Nothing in this section shall apply to any entity organized under Chapter 9.1 (§ 56-231.15 et seq.).

2018, c. 296; 2019, cc. 397, 398; 2020, cc. 1193, 1194, 1208.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.