Georgia’s Integrated Resource Planning law, O.C.G.A. § 46-3A-2, approved in the early 1990s, requires the state’s regulated electric utilities to file integrated resource plans (IRPs) with the Georgia Public Service Commission (GPSC) every three years. The IRPs must take into account any present and projected reductions in the demand for energy that may result from measures to improve energy efficiency in the industrial, commercial, residential, and energy-producing sectors of the state.
Georgia Power, cooperative utilities, and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) offer energy efficiency programs. The GPSC regulates Georgia Power, but not the other electric utilities. To date levels of spending and associated energy efficiency program activity have been relatively low.
GPSC Rule 515-3-4 outlines the commission’s role in the review and approval of the companies’ IRPs. Natural gas utilities are not required to file IRPs or offer energy efficiency programs.
To encourage utilities to use demand-side resources, Georgia statute O.C.G.A. § 46-3A-9 allows utilities to recover costs and an additional sum for commission-approved demand-side management programs.
According to the TVA and the Energy Information Administration, Georgia electric utilities saved 53,689 MWh in 2009 through their efficiency programs. Reported budgets for energy efficiency programs for 2011, and electricity savings for 2010, are in the State Spending and Savings Tables.
Since the early 1990s, Georgia statute O.C.G.A. § 46-3A-2 has required the regulated electric utilities to file integrated resource plans with the Georgia Public Service Commission every three years. The IRPs must consider the impact of energy efficiency improvements on projected energy demand. The companies must file the IRPs in accordance with GPSC Rule 515-3-4, the commission’s IRP rule. Natural gas companies are not required to file IRPs or offer energy efficiency programs.
Georgia Power is the only regulated electric utility in the state. Georgia Power filed its 2007 IRP in Docket Nos. 24505-U and 24506-U. Georgia Power participates in the national Change a Light program, supports Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®, promotes ENERGY STAR® appliances, helps customers recycle older appliances, provides free in-home audits, and runs home improvement programs for low-income customers. The utility has also offered incentives to home builders.
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a non-regulated utility, offers audits and incentives for residential and business customers. The company is also encouraging industrial customers to install geothermal heat pumps.
Many of the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation’s cooperatives offer rebates for installation of certain energy-efficient appliances such as water heaters, heat pumps, programmable thermostats, and compact fluorescent light bulbs.
According to the Energy Information Administration, Georgia electric utilities reported efficiency program savings of 51,904 MWh in 2010. Georgia Power, the largest utility in the state, reported savings of 130,404 MWh in 2011.
Reported budgets for energy efficiency programs for 2011, and electricity savings for 2010, are in the State Spending and Savings Tables.
Regulated utility energy efficiency and demand-side management programs are funded through a demand-side management rider that is applied to residential and commercial customers. For Georgia Power customers, each customer class is responsible for the program and incentive costs of their respective program. As of January 2012, the residential DSM rider amount added to the bill was equal to 1.9126% of base revenue. The commercial DSM rider amount was equal to 1.0795% of the base bill calculation, which excluded Real Time Pricing (RTP) incremental usage revenue. In addition, the commercial rider shall apply to only 65% of the base bill calculations for bills rendered on the Fixed Pricing Alternative (FPA-4) tariff.
Reported budgets for energy efficiency programs for 2011 are in the State Spending and Savings Tables.
Georgia legislators have considered adopting portfolio standards for energy efficiency, but have not done so as of June 2010.
Georgia Code (O.C.G.A. § 46-3A-9) authorizes a lost revenue adjustment mechanism for electric utilities, but not natural gas utilities. A utility may recover costs and an “additional sum” for approved programs. According to the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs, Consumers’ Utility Counsel Division the purpose of the additional sum “is to compensate the utility for lost revenues and increased risks as a result of implementing conservation, load management, co-generation, and/or renewable energy technologies.”
By statute (O.C.G.A. § 46-3A-9), a utility may recover costs and an additional sum for commission-approved demand-side management programs to encourage development of demand-side and energy efficiency resources. For the Power Credit Single Family Program, the only approved program currently in place, Georgia Power earns an additional sum of 10% of actual net benefits of electricity savings (as determined by the Program Administrator test) if they achieve annual incremental kWh savings of more than 50% of projections for a portfolio (residential or commercial) of programs. If programs achieve less than 50% of projected kWh savings, the additional sum is 0.5% of net benefits for demand response measures and 3% of net benefits for energy efficiency measures. There is no cap on the incentive payments; however, if the incentive sum exceeds program costs, the portion of the total that exceeds the program cost is limited to 5% of actual net benefits. GP will not receive an incentive payment in 2011 and will receive half the additional sum in 2012.
Every three years, Georgia utilities must file IRPs with the commission. The plans must detail the utilities' forecast requirements, taking into account present and projected energy demands and any demand reductions that are the result of improved energy efficiency measures in any and all sectors. There are no requirements, however, that place energy efficiency as a first-priority resource.
The evaluation of ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs is not formally required in Georgia. However, Georgia has established formal rules and procedures for evaluation, which are stated in Rules 515-3-4-.09(3)(e) 4 and 5. Statewide evaluations and evaluations for each of the utilities are conducted. Georgia uses all of the five classic benefit-cost tests identified in the California Standard Practice Manual. These are the Total Resource Cost (TRC), Utility/Programs Administrator (UCT), Participant (PCT), Social Cost (SCT), and Ratepayer Impact Measure (RIM). The rules for benefit-cost tests are not specified, and Georgia does not have a primary cost-effectiveness test that it relies upon.