Changes to the rules for electric utility energy efficiency programs will be back before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission later this month after a hearing Tuesday didn’t get to a vote.
Many of the rule changes had to do with how electric utilities would be rewarded for exceeding their energy efficiency goals and what kind of customers could opt out of the programs.
After a two-hour hearing during which additional changes were made, commissioners agreed Tuesday to wait to vote on the proposed rules until a final draft could be circulated. The matter will be back before commissioners Feb. 20.
The energy efficiency rules, called demand programs, are intended to minimize the long-term cost of utility service, delay the need for new generating plants and encourage consumers to reduce their energy consumption. Because demand programs result in fewer kilowatt hours sold, electric utilities are allowed to recover some costs for program administration.
The commission’s public utility division and the Oklahoma Sustainability Network suggested new goals for energy sales reductions of 0.34 percent and 0.42 percent for 2014 to 2016. Attorneys for Public Service Co. of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. said those goals would interfere with three-year energy efficiency programs already approved by the commission.
“To change us in the middle of the game is going to affect us in a way that we’re going to have to go backwards and rework what we’ve done in 2012,” said Stephanie Houle, an attorney for OG&E.
OG&E and PSO are in the middle of a joint study to see what kind of potential there might be for future energy efficiency programs.
Deborah Thompson, an attorney representing the Oklahoma Sustainability Network, said the goals are aspirational and utilities aren’t penalized for not meeting them. She said other states have higher goals.
“We support staff’s inclusion to try to inspire and have aspirational goals so we can catch up with other states,” Thompson said.
Commission OKs wind contracts
The Corporation Commission, by a 3-0 vote, approved three contracts for wind generation for PSO. The approval will allow PSO to recover costs for almost 600 megawatts of electricity from three new wind farms to be built by 2016. PSO est