Utilities test new models to encourage investments in efficiency and conservation.
Efficiency is the topic of the moment. Across the country, utilities face increasing pressure to prioritize investments in conservation and load-management programs. But every utility has a different set of resource options and investment strategies, and every state approaches efficiency-related investments in a different way.
Amid this jumble of policy and business factors, one technical fact seems clear: Demand reduction is the low-hanging fruit, and every utility will be expected to harvest that fruit as thoroughly as possible—in part to demonstrate that other investments truly are necessary and prudent, and also to address customers’ concerns about rising utility bills.
“Properly managed energy efficiency and conservation efforts reduce the need to finance and build resources,” says J. LaMont Keen, CEO of IDACORP and Idaho Power. “That drives down capital needs and operating costs, and improves customer satisfaction.”
In this year’s CEO Forum feature, Fortnightly interviewed leaders at several companies with dramatically different approaches to financing efficiency and conservation investments. Their wide variety of perspectives exemplifies the many business models being used by U.S. investor-owned utility companies—and the multiple paths leading toward a more efficient electricity future.