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State Energy Efficiency Policy Database

Oregon

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Administers Oregon's energy efficiency programs and incentives.
Works to accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient products, technologies, and practices.

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Summary

Oregon is a leading state in energy efficiency, with programs dating back to the 1980s. Oregon energy utilities were first required to offer residentialweatherization assistance to their customers by the 1981 Residential Energy Conservation Act. In 1989, the Oregon Public Utility Commission’s (OPUC’s) Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) Order No. 89-507 required the utilities to consider energy efficiency as a resource when developing plans.  

Oregon's 1999 restructuring law, SB 1149, established a public purpose charge to support electric energy efficiency, renewable energy, and low-income programs. The public purpose charge is equal to 3% of the total revenues collected by the utilities and provides about $60 million per year for the electric programs. 

The Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO), a nonprofit organization established by the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) in 2002, administers most of the statewide energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Portland General Electric implements revenue per customer. In its first ever long-range strategic plan, the Energy Trust of Oregon laid out energy savings goals between 2010 and 2014 of 256 average megawatts (2,242.6 GWh) of electricity and 22.5 million annual therms of natural gas.

NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas adopted public purpose funding for natural gas energy efficiency programs and decoupling mechanisms in Order Nos. 02-634 and 06-191, respectively. Avista Utilities’ natural gas programs are funded through deferred accounts. Average expenditures for the natural gas programs are $10-$12 million per year. The ETO administers the majority of the statewide natural gas energy efficiency programs.

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables on the left.

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November 8, 2013


Customer Energy Efficiency Programs

Oregon's energy customers are served by statewide programs administered by the nonprofit Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO). The ETO was created in association with electric utility restructuring to provide energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

The state’s electric energy efficiency programs are required by legislation (SB 1149). Oregon's energy efficiency programs are also supported by strong regional organizations—the Bonneville Power Administration, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. Some utility customers are served by ETO, while others are served by utilities directly. The ETO has achieved significant success in a short time. Since its creation in 2002, the organization has rapidly developed and implemented a comprehensive menu of programs and services for customer energy efficiency.

Oregon's public purpose charge (3% of the total revenues collected by the utilities from customer electric bills) provides roughly $60 million per year to support energy efficiency, renewable energy, and low-income programs in Oregon. This funding supports the Energy Trust of Oregon's electric programs as well as electric low-income programs provided by Oregon Housing and Community Services, a state agency. In 2007, SB 838 extended the public purpose charge through 2025. The ETO also receives funding from natural gas utilities (NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas) to administer natural gas efficiency programs.

Self-direct options are available in Oregon. The Eugene Water and Electric Board offers a self-direct program in which customers receive contractual obligations to achieve a certain kilowatt-hour of savings annually based on the percentage of load a customer represents and the average conservation savings achieved by the industrial sector in prior years.  Self-direct customers continue to pay the regular cost-recovery mechanism (CRM) of 5% but receive a monthly rate credit equal to conservation fee minus utility measurement and verification costs.  Customers who fail to meet their goals must repay a proportional amount of the rate credit.  Also the Oregon Department of Energy offers a self-direct option to customers with more than 1 MW. More information on large customer self-direct programs can be found in the ACEEE report, Follow the Leaders: Improving Large Customer Self-Direct Programs.

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables on the left.

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November 8, 2013


Energy Efficiency Resource Standards

Summary: Electric: Targets are equivalent to 0.8% of 2009 electric sales in 2010, ramping up to 1% in 2013 and 2014. Natural Gas: 0.2% of sales in 2010, ramping up to 0.4% in 2014.

In its first ever long-range strategic plan, the Energy Trust of Oregon laid out energy savings goals between 2010 and 2014 of 256 average megawatts (2,242.6 GWh) of electricity and 22.5 million annual therms of natural gas. These goals include savings from NEEA programs. Electric targets are equivalent to 0.8 percent of 2009 electric sales in 2010, ramping up to 1% in 2013 and 2014. Natural gas targets ramp up from 0.2 percent of 2007 natural gas sales to 0.4 percent in 2014.

Achievement of Oregon’s goals is contingent upon continued increases in IRP funding. ETO estimates that if funding stayed flat at 2009 levels, they would only achieve savings of 191 aMW and 16 million annual therms. 


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August 9, 2013


Alternative Business Models

Since 2009 Portland General Electric has implemented revenue per customer decoupling (called Sales Normalization Adjustment) for residential, small business, and “other” customers.  Lost revenue recovery is implemented for commercial and industrial consumers with loads less than 1 average megawatt. The program also has a 2% rate cap on the amount recoverable by PGE through fixed costs in usage-based rate adjustments. (Portland General Electric (electric):  Docket No. UE-197; Order Nos. 09-020, 09-176, 10-478 and 11-110)

Cascade Natural Gas was approved for margin-per-customer decoupling effective May 1, 2006, while Northwest Natural Gas has been implementing use-per-customer decoupling since 2003. Both make a base rate decoupling adjustment to reflect changes in use per customer over the past year on a prospective basis in the following year’s rates.

Cascade Natural Gas Docket No. UG 167, Order No. 06-191, April 2006; Northwest Natural Gas Docket No. UG 163, Order No. 07-426 (extending through October 2012 the prior decoupling mechanism approved in Docket No. UG 152, Order No. 03-507); Portland General Electric; Docket No. UE-197; Order Nos. 09-020 and 09-176).


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August 9, 2013


Reward Structures for Successful Energy Efficiency Programs

There is currently no policy in place that rewards successful energy efficiency programs.


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August 21, 2013


Energy Efficiency as a Resource

Oregon is part of the four-state region included in the scope of operations for the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC), which has responsibility for resource planning for the region. NPCC has identified energy efficiency and conservation as the priority resource for meeting load growth in the region and expects that this resource can address about 85% of all load growth through 2030.

The Energy Trust of Oregon develops estimates of savings from its programs that utilities serving the state (Pacificorp and Portland General Electric) use in their load forecasts and planning processes.


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August 13, 2013


Evaluation, Measurement & Verification
  • Cost-effectiveness test(s) used: SCT, UCT
  • Uses a deemed savings database: no

The evaluation of ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs in Oregon relies on regulatory orders (Docket UM 551, Order 94-590). Evaluations are mainly administered by the Energy Trust of Oregon. Oregon has formal requirements for evaluation articulated in Docket UM 551, Order 94-590. Statewide evaluations are conducted. Oregon uses two of the five classic benefit-cost tests identified in the California Standard Practice Manual. These are the Utility/Program Administrator Test (UCT) and Social Cost Test (SCT). Oregon specifies the SCT to be its primary test for decision making. The benefit-cost tests are required for total program and individual measure level screening, with exceptions made for low-income programs, pilots, and new technologies. The rules for benefit-cost tests are stated in Docket UM 551, Order 94-590. 


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August 20, 2013