Energy Efficiency Programs
Statewide Energy Efficiency Program Information Center
All of New Hampshire’s electric and natural gas utility ratepayers contribute to the utility-administered statewide “Core” energy efficiency programs. For electric customers this charge is included in the Delivery Services portion of your bill labeled “Systems Benefit Charge” or “SBC”. For natural gas customers the energy efficiency program charge is included in the “Local Distribution Adjustment Factor” on your bill.
You can learn more about the programs by calling your utility, checking your utility’s website, or you may visit www.nhsaves.com. There is also an automated telephone line that offers brief descriptions of all of the energy efficiency programs available in New Hampshire. To reach the Statewide Energy Efficiency Program Call Center dial toll-free, 1-866-266-2420.
To view the efficiency program filings with the Public Utilities Commission, please see Core Energy Efficiency Programs (NHPUC) for Electric and Gas Energy Efficiency Conservation Programs (NHPUC) for natural gas. The utilities also have a lot of information about the programs they administer on their websites. Please take a look!
Did You Know?
Kilowatt Counters are available to borrow from most local libraries in the State of New Hampshire. Have you ever wanted to know if that old refrigerator was an energy hog on your electric bill? Well, now you can find out! Reserve one at your local library today.
Find your library here, http://pierce.state.nh.us/libdir/.
Pull the Plug!
Did you know that unplugging unused items in your house could save you money on your monthly electricity bill? By using UL approved power strips instead of each item being plugged in separately, drawing power even when they are not in use, you save money by reducing your “phantom load.” Phantom load refers to the energy used to keep your electrical appliance/items in “standby” mode. If you plug them all into a power strip, you can then turn off the power-strip when these items are not in use with the press of a button. When you need the microwave, all you need to do is hit one button, and your appliance is on. Any appliance/item that does not require 24/7 electricity (ex. refrigerator, stove, alarm clock) could be on a power strip. The more efficiently you use your electricity, the more money you will save. It’s simple! And it could save you a lot!
How much can you save by curbing your phantom load? In 2000, researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimated that Americans spend around $4 billion annually on standby power alone. In 2001, a report showed that standby power consumption accounted for an average of 15% of electricity consumption.
Take the Challenge!
Each household is different in their needs, so take a tour of your house and assess where a power strip would be useful. Here is our challenge to ratepayers…Let’s see how much phantom load you can get rid of. Tell us what you did and how much you are saving. Send us your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org. We may feature it in our next newsletter.
Group Net Metering –
(Language below reprinted from, Sustainable EnergyNewsletter Issue 3, February 2014)
New Hampshire expanded its net metering law to include group net metering, also known as virtual net metering. The law (RSA 362-A:9, XIV) permits net metered renewable energy facilities, known as hosts, to share the proceeds from surplus electricity generation with other electric utility account holders, known as group members.
What exactly is group net metering? To answer that question we must first define traditional net metering. Net metering allows the owners of electrical renewable energy systems such as photovoltaic arrays, to receive a credit on their electric utility bills when they produce more electricity than they use, thereby exporting power to the electric grid.
Under the net metering law, electric utilities track the surplus power from residential or commercial renewable energy systems on a monthly basis. Once a year, if the net metered facility has accrued a balance of more than 600 kilowatt hours, the owner of the facility can elect to either receive a credit on their bill or a cash payment from the distribution utility for the cumulative value of the surplus electricity. However, if a customer has more than one meter, he/she cannot use the credit generated by one meter to offset the charges of another meter located either on site or at another site.
Group net metering, by contrast, allows the owner, or host, of a renewable energy system or a heat led combined heat and power system to receive a monthly cash payment for the host's surplus electricity from his/her electric distribution utility, and then to use the proceeds to either a) offset the costs of one or more of the customer's other meters, or b) to share a portion of the proceeds with a group of other customers. One of the aims of group net metering is to allow group members to control their energy costs without having to be connected to the renewable energy system. Presumably the group members would invest in the host's renewable energy facility. The total kilowatt hour (kWh) output of the host facility should not be greater than the total kWh usage of the group.
In order to group net meter, the host must execute a written agreement with the group members. A registration form must be filed with, and approved by, the PUC. The host and the group members must all be default service customers of the same distribution utility, meaning they may not get energy from a competitive electric supplier.
Group net metering promises to be a powerful tool for expanding the use of renewable energy facilities in New Hampshire. For application forms and additional information about group net metering, click here.
PUC’s Sustainable Energy Division
The Sustainable Energy Division of the Public Utilities Commission was created in 2008 to assist the Commission in implementing specific state legislative initiatives focused on promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency and to advance the goals of energy sustainability, affordability and security. The Division is also charged with managing the statewide energy code program for residential and commercial buildings and setting energy efficiency standards for certain appliances.
The Division aids the Commission in administering the Renewable Energy Fund (see Puc Rule 2507; see also HB873) and the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Fund (See Puc Rule 2604; see also HB1434). These funds finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and initiatives across New Hampshire.
They have also begun a newsletter series. Check it out. http://www.puc.nh.gov/Sustainable%20Energy/newsletter.html.
Why Energy Star?
ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. See http://www.energystar.gov/.
Americans saved more than $26 billion on their utility bills in 2012 with the help of ENERGY STAR® and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity use of 35 million homes. See 2012 Annual Report, http://www.energystar.gov/.
Energy efficient choices can save families about a third on their energy bill with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions and without sacrificing features, style or comfort. When you look for new household products, such as lighting fixtures and bulbs as well as appliances, make an energy efficient choice. Look for those that have earned the ENERGY STAR label, which meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA.
To learn more about the ENERGY STAR program and the numerous products that are available, visit www.energystar.gov. Also, at www.nhsaves.com you can print rebates for ENERGY STAR products and in some cases find out what retailer sells them.