SWEEP's RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Updated January 2021
Lower income households received increased energy efficiency support
The number of families struggling to pay energy bills surged due to the impacts of COVID-19. In 2020, utilities across the region stepped up their efforts to help lower income customers make energy efficiency improvements and thereby lower their utility bills.
Nevada Governor moved forward on clean cars
Governor Steve Sisolak announced that Nevada will begin a rulemaking to adopt the Clean Cars Program, a policy that would require automakers to build and deliver more efficient vehicles to Nevada including more plug-in electric cars and light trucks. Travis Madsen, SWEEP’s Transportation Program Director noted, “This policy will replace oil produced in other states with electricity generated in Nevada – saving Nevadans billions of dollars, cleaning up our air, and helping to build back our economy even better than it was before the pandemic hit.”
New Mexico updates building energy codes
The New Mexico Construction Industries Commission adopted the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code, with some New Mexico specific amendments. This new energy code will reduce energy use in new residential and commercial buildings by about 25 percent. Tammy Fiebelkorn, SWEEP’s New Mexico Representative said, “Updating our energy code is one of the most important and effective things New Mexico can do to reduce its climate impact from the buildings sector.”
Arizona Commission approves new energy efficiency plan for APS
The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) approved a new plan that will greatly expand the energy efficiency programs implemented by Arizona Public Service Company (APS). The new plan includes additional assistance to help income-challenged families upgrade the efficiency of their homes, expanded rebates for air conditioner replacement, and new incentives to assist businesses and public sector entities with energy efficiency upgrades.
Southwest utilities start promoting beneficial electrification in buildings and industry
Several utilities in the Southwest started providing incentives to encourage their customers to shift from natural gas-based space and water heating to high efficiency heat pumps. In Utah, both the gas utility (Dominion Energy Utah) and electric utility (Rocky Mountain Power (RMP)) received approval for such incentives. In Colorado, Xcel Energy started offering incentives as part of the utility’s 2021-22 energy efficiency plan. And in Arizona, the Salt River Project began incentives for electrification projects undertaken by residential and business customers.
New Mexico commission approves new energy efficiency plan for PNM
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC) approved a new plan for the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s (PNM) energy efficiency and demand response programs during 2021-23. The plan scales up the utility’s programs, with PNM striving to increase energy savings achieved by its customers by around 50 percent during 2021-23 compared to savings achieved from programs implemented during 2018-20.
Nevada finalizes lamp efficiency standards
Nevada approved a regulation requiring all general service lamps that are sold in the state starting in 2021 to meet or exceed an efficacy of 45 lumens per watt. This means that retail stores can no longer sell inefficient incandescent and halogen incandescent lamps in the covered lamp categories, meaning consumers will mostly purchase LED lamps.
Arizona Commission establishes 100% clean energy standards
The ACC approved new standards requiring the state’s investor-owned electric utilities to be 100% carbon-free by 2050. In addition, the ACC adopted new energy efficiency standards requiring electric utilities to achieve at least 1.3% annual energy savings on average during 2021-30. Ellen Zuckerman, SWEEP’s Utility Program Co-Director said, “Energy efficiency will take its rightful place as the least-cost resource to meet customer needs and spur economic growth.”
Southwest states shine in ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard
Nevada was recognized as the Most Improved State in the 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released in December by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). New Mexico also significantly boosted its ranking in the 2020 Scorecard. And Colorado continued as the leader among Southwest states, moving up to 11th place in 2020.
Colorado commission approves Xcel Energy’s transportation electrification plan
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved Xcel Energy’s first Transportation Electrification Plan. This landmark plan calls for Xcel investing $107 million in electrification projects during 2021-23. Incentives will be offered in a range of areas, including for charging equipment installed in homes, apartment buildings and businesses, public direct current (DC) fast charging stations, and bus electrification.