This blog was written by Simon Mahan, former Energy Policy Manager at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.Guest Blog | June 15, 2017
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released its 2017 Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard yesterday, ranking the 51 largest US electric utilities on energy efficiency programs and policies in 2015. Utility efficiency programs can have a number of benefits including lowering customer bills, reducing or avoiding the need to build new generating plants and other societal benefits like improved health and job creation. How did the utilities in the Southeast perform on the scorecard? Let’s take a look.
The ACEEE ranking assesses the energy efficiency programs, policies, and performance of the utilities based on a scoring system. The Northeast was the highest-scoring region, with 62% of available points earned on average, while the Southeast region – including utilities in AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, NC, and SC – earned an average of only 25% of the points, the lowest region in the rankings with the most utilities in the bottom 10. Of the 51 utilities in the scorecard, only Entergy Arkansas and Duke Energy Carolinas (SC) ranked in the top 30.
The table below shows a summary of the southeast programs (with the top 3 performing utilities included as a benchmark). NOTE: ACEEE did not include Tennessee Valley Authority in this report because it is a wholesale supplier and none of its wholesale power customers fall within the 51 largest utilities.
EE Program Performance
Targets, business models
Total Points (50 total)
% of total points
|National Grid (MA)|
|Duke Carolina (SC)|
|Duke Carolina (NC)|
|Duke Progress (NC)|
|GA Power (GA)|
|AL Power (AL)|
The EE Program Performance category scores utilities on quantitative savings and spending performance including incremental energy savings, program spending, peak demand reduction, lifetime savings, and progress toward energy savings targets. Net energy savings as a percentage of 2015 retail sales was the largest point metric in the scorecard. Eversource MA and National Grid received full points for this metric by achieving more than 3% incremental annual savings. Twenty-two utilities had savings higher than 1% of sales in 2015. The highest ranking Southeast utility was Entergy AR with 1.09% of sales, followed by Duke Energy Progress NC at 0.87% and Duke Energy Carolinas SC and NC at 0.78% and 0.77% respectively. The average for all 51 utilities is 0.89%.
The second category (EE Programs) evaluates utility performance in areas that are critical to effective program delivery. The metrics in this category include diversity of programs, emerging programs, pilot programs, low-income offerings, advanced metering penetration, utility data access, and electric vehicles. In the Southeast region, Duke Energy Carolinas (NC) ranked the highest with 43% of the available points (or 30th in the rankings), earning points for strong diversity of programs and low-income programs.
The final category scores utilities on regulatory policies that promote energy efficiency including metrics based on energy savings targets, residential rate design, utility business model approaches and program evaluation practices. Again, both Eversource and National Grid MD earned top billing in this category (100% of available points), recognizing the criticality of having strong targets and policies in place to promote energy efficiency. Top Southeast performers were Entergy AR (60% of available points) and Duke Energy Carolinas SC (55% of available points).
The results of the scorecard highlight the importance of a diverse program offering and strong state policies and regulatory support for high performance in utility efficiency programs. The Southeast utilities may have performed poorly on this initial scorecard, but that leaves a lot of opportunity to grow. SACE is committed to working with utilities in the Southeast to improve energy efficiency programs and polices.