- The Maryland House of Delegates voted last week to expand the state's energy efficiency targets, extending the state's EmPOWER program set up almost a decade ago.
- The Public Service Commission voted last year to give the state's five largest utilities a 2% energy efficiency goal by 2020. The legislation, which will now head to the Senate, enacts that goal.
- The Baltimore Sun reports it is unclear of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) would sign the bill. He vetoed an expansion of the state's renewable energy goals last year—but lawmakers voted to override him.
Nearly a decade ago, lawmakers passed the EmPOWER act requiring utilities to reduce electricity use 10% by 2015, and regulators took it a step further by pushing utilities to invest more in energy efficiency. Extending the program will help continue that trend.
The Maryland House voted 92-46 to expand efficiency goals, which is stronger support than clean energy supporters showed in January, when the House turned up 88 votes to override the renewable portfolio veto.
In 2015, state regulators gave utilities five years to reach the 2% target, with a gradual ramp-up. Utilities were supposed to update their efficiency plans this year, and will be required to increase efficiency at least 0.2% annually up to the goal.
Among other major points in the PSC's order, Maryland regulators found the lifecycle cost of a Kwh for efficiency was 2.6 cents—significantly lower than utility standard offers which range from 6.2 cents to 9.3 cents/kWh. “For ratepayers across the state, it continues to be less costly to invest in energy efficiency than it is to pay for electricity,” the commission said. The EmPOWER program was passed in 2008, with a goal of reducing energy usage by 15% by 2015.