By: Ty Colman, William Clift and Mark Rehnborg, POINT380, LLC
New and proposed regulations, such as the Green Communities Act in Massachusetts, along with the high cost of new generation, transmission and distribution, and public pressure to provide affordable and reliable energy, are causing electric and natural gas utilities to aggressively develop demand-side management programs. An energy efficiency (EE) potential study is a common first step in this process; however, utilities frequently find a gap between the information in these studies, and that which is needed to develop actionable EE strategies. Through our work with several utilities in the northeast United States, we customized and expanded relevant EE potential studies by: (1) incorporating historic and current EE programming data, (2) pairing utility-specific data with the potential studies’ findings, and (3) developing improved customer segmentation. The resulting work culminated in the Energy Efficiency Market Opportunity Analysis (EEMOA) which allows a utility to: (1) assess aggregate data to inform program strategy and resource deployment, (2) use granular data for tactical planning and implementation, (3) discern differences between customer segments and recognize unique marketing techniques required for each, and (4) better defend reported EE budgets and targets to both internal and external stakeholders. Ongoing development of the EEMOA has identified opportunities to enhance output analytics by emphasizing customer-level analysis, program scenario analysis, new and emerging technologies, and additional use of primary market research, thereby providing a more useful framework for delivering the actionable guidance utilities need to develop and implement effective EE programs.