Most energy efficiency advancements are created, mandated, implemented, or enforced through policy mechanisms at varying levels. As such, SEEA is committed to supporting the advancement of energy efficiency policy across the Southeast.
The goal of SEEA’s Energy Efficiency Policy Team is to provide Southeastern decisionmakers–including utilities, local governments, state agencies, and other organizations–with the resources and support they need to make educated and informed decisions on energy efficiency policies. SEEA provides relevant and timely information about energy efficiency developments in the region and nationally, convenes energy efficiency stakeholders around key issues, and acts as a technical advisor when questions arise. By collaborating and building partnerships with stakeholders from all segments of the energy efficiency community, SEEA facilitates the sharing of best practices and lessons learned to advance the region’s understanding of existing and emerging issues in energy efficiency.
SEEA serves as a resource to state energy offices, public service commissions, environmental agencies, and other state-based stakeholders, providing technical expertise on priority issue areas within our states. SEEA also engages at the state level with specific project work.
In the Southeast, local jurisdictions are centers of innovation in the energy efficiency space. SEEA continues to assess opportunities to support further deployment of energy savings through local partnerships and collaboration with groups like the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN).
Utilities often face challenges in developing successful programs and deploying energy efficiency as a system resource. SEEA actively engages with utilities across the Southeast to support and facilitate industry discussions on key issues of focus, including program design and regulatory tools to support energy efficiency within the utility business model.
SEEA also provides technical expertise and regional perspective through its participation in utility stakeholder forums in the region. These include the Southern Company Stakeholder Forum, TVA Energy Efficiency Information Exchange, Georgia Power Demand Side Management Working Group, Dominion Virginia Power Management Working Group and Integrated Resource Planning Stakeholder Discussions, Arkansas Parties Working Collaboratively, and the Duke Energy Carolinas Collaborative.
Energy Efficiency Policy Research and Reports
A Service Heart
Danny Kilpatrick’s childhood home in rural Mississippi was frequently warmed by “oven-heat.” He knows first-hand the fear and worry low-income households feel when their monthly utility bills are due. Danny serves a lot of customers in the Mississippi Delta, a region distressed by deep, systemic poverty. “The opportunities here are sparse or nonexistent. Many people can’t go anywhere else.” With his experience in one hand, and his faith in the other, Danny left a steady, corporate career and launched Utility Program Services (UPS) in 2018. UPS provides demand-side management (DSM) measures focused on serving low-income communities. Danny currently serves the customers of Entergy Mississippi, Mississippi Power Co., and Entergy Arkansas. This year, over 92% of their residential deliveries were in homes that received at least one form of assistance.
In 2013, SEEA partnered with the Mississippi Development Authority’s Energy & Natural Resources Division to build support for the adoption of Rule 29: Conservation and Energy Efficiency Programs, establishing Mississippi’s first, state-wide utility energy efficiency programs. The Quick Start phase of the rule encouraged utilities to implement energy efficiency programs in just three years. During that time, Danny was at job he enjoyed and was grateful for, managing business development and DSM programs for ICF International. However, when the Quick Start programs launched in 2014, he envisioned working with customers in a deeper way, beyond the constraints of fixed contracts. “If you have a service heart in the service business, then you’ll do well.” Danny tells the story of a visit with a customer a few months ago, in the height of summer. “She was sitting on her porch when I arrived at 2 p.m. on an August afternoon. I thought her air conditioner was broken, but I learned her electricity bill for July was one-third of her monthly income and she was on the porch because she could not afford to operate her air conditioner.” Danny provided the contracted service, tuning up her HVAC, but right away he noticed the root cause of her high utility bills. Her dryer vent was two feet from the condensing unit, which was coated with lint, and the mercury bulb thermostat was mounted to an uninsulated wall of the air handler closet, which was open to the attic. Knowing the difference it could make in this customer’s life, Danny made the necessary repairs. He says this is the reason he chose to be self-employed, “I just do what I do, and it speaks for itself.” His generosity ripples through his community and his family, a kindness that especially resonates during the holidays. SEEA’s president, Mandy Mahoney, recently received a hand-crafted bird house made by Danny and his daughter. The family tradition started nearly 15 years ago with his eldest son, Ethan after they received a bird house from a family friend. Danny estimates that he and his children have made over 1,200 bird houses. Now in his twenties, Ethan, with his business partner Jeremiah, has started his own energy efficiency business providing weatherization services to low income clients.
Since the adoption of Rule 29, Mississippi’s energy efficiency rank on ACEEE’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard has risen six spots from 51 to 45, becoming one of the most improved states in the nation.
Introduction to Blockchain Technology in Energy
Following the 2018 SEEA Conference, SEEA began researching blockchain in response to an increased interest in energy-related technologies from among our members, industry promotion, and general confusion about this complex, evolving technology. The goal of this paper is to offer an overview of this technology and its potential role in our energy future. This paper offers a simplified explanation of how blockchain works and highlights several potential applications for blockchain in the energy sector.
Utility-Administered Low-Income Programs in the Southeast
Historically marked by high poverty rates, the Southeast continues to advance in its pursuit of comprehensive, energy efficiency offerings to serve low-income ratepayers. SEEA produced this landscape assessment in July 2016 to provide a snapshot of the current state of low-income programs in SEEA’s region and to identify clear trends and opportunities as the region moves forward.
Energy Efficiency Goal Setting in the Southeast
At the request of public utility commissions, their staff, utilities and other interested parties, the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) created this document to provide examples and model policies implemented in other states to inform the creation of energy saving targets and goals. This document is intended to be broadly applicable to entities throughout the region that are exploring policy options for expanding the role of energy efficiency within their portfolio or jurisdiction.
Summary of Mississippi’s Quick Start Energy Efficiency Programs
SEEA completed this document in May 2015 to serve as a quick reference guide of the rules, requirements and utility filings for the Mississippi’s Commission-approved, Quick Start energy efficiency programs.
Energy Efficiency Policy
SEEA’s policy work focuses on state, local and utility policy for the purpose of advancing energy efficiency progress and opportunities across the region.
SEEA’s work with residential, commercial and industrial buildings addresses building energy codes and their impact on building resilience, health, comfort and affordability.
Energy Efficient Transportation
SEEA’s efforts to advance energy efficient transportation address policy, programs, outreach, charging infrastructure, and technical assistance.
SEEA’s pool of legacy ARRA funds are currently invested in five community projects that were selected for their potential to deliver significant energy efficiency gains.