Arkansas Regulators Issue First Energy Efficiency Rules
The Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) issued new energy efficiency rules on January 11, completing its first regulatory framework for energy efficiency programs. The new PSC rules require all state electric and gas utilities to begin cost-effective energy efficiency programs. Furthermore, the utilities must implement such programs for all classes of customers — residential, commercial, and industrial.
A week before the PSC issued the rules, it issued Resource Planning Guidelines, which require electric utilities to consider all electric generation options "reasonably available to them within the region."
Commission Chairman Sandra Hochstetter said in a press release that most electric utilities in the state need additional power generation and transmission lines to deliver that power. The cost for bringing the additional power to customers will be much higher than in past years. In many cases, she said, demand response, conservation, and energy efficiency programs can displace or defer new electric generation investment.
"The rising cost of energy, need for new infrastructure, and current supply-demand imbalance necessitated the launch of a strong statewide commitment to finding as many cost-effective ways as possible to reduce our energy consumption patterns, and as quickly as possible," she said. The new rules, she added, constitute the state's first steps toward achieving those goals.