Act 129

Pennsylvania’s Energy Efficiency Law

Act 129 is Pennsylvania’s flagship energy efficiency law. Signed into law by Governor Ed Rendell in 2008, the Act requires each of Pennsylvania’s seven major electric distribution companies (EDCs) to reduce energy use within their service territories. In the first seven years of the law, utility programs were established to meet reduction targets; these programs delivered $6.4 billion in benefits to all customer classes.

Ronald McDonald House expands services for families of children with cancer by saving energy and money with energy efficient upgrades through Act 129 programs

How Act 129 Works

The Public Utility Commission (PUC) sets efficiency targets for each EDC based on a third-party expert review of energy efficiency potential.

  • Utilities meet these targets over the course of a three to five year “Phase” determined by the Commission.

  • Phase III of Act 129 began in June 2016 and will end in June 2021. This is the longest implementation phase of a law of this kind in the United States.

Utilities meet Act 129 targets by contracting with conservation service providers (CSPs) to implement energy efficiency programs.

  • Types of programs include rebates and incentives for high-efficiency appliances and lighting, upgrades to industrial processes, advanced building controls, and construction of efficient new buildings.

  • Efficiency programs must be cost-effective over 15 years and savings are verified by third parties.

SMART & SMACNA Train Members For Success To Meet Demand For Highly Skilled Workers In Western PA's Energy Efficiency Industry

Benefits Delivered: Energy Savings and Local Jobs

Act 129 delivered $6.4 billion in benefits to Pennsylvania electric customers in its first seven years.

  • Customers who take advantage of Act 129 programs directly benefit through bill savings.

  • Efficiency investments on a large scale have reduced energy demand, avoiding the need for expensive utility investments in new power generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure.

Energy efficiency creates jobs.

  • Energy efficiency accounts for more than 65,000 Pennsylvania jobs, according to E2.
  • Efficiency jobs can be found in every county in the Commonwealth, and most jobs are in fields that can’t be outsourced, like construction.
  • The energy efficiency workforce includes electricians, engineers, trained technicians, financial analysts, construction workers, facility managers, software developers, marketing professionals, and other specialists.

Small business Here & Now Brewing Company's 160 year old building is saving energy and money while creating local jobs in Honesdale, PA

KEEA and Act 129

KEEA has been at the forefront of Act 129 advocacy since its founding in 2007.

  • KEEA advocacy was critical in developing legislation and building support to win Act 129’s passage through the legislature in 2008.

  • KEEA has intervened in utility rate cases to strengthen Act 129 implementation targets and defend energy efficiency.

  • KEEA has been a consistent voice at the PUC in strengthening efficiency programs during each phase of Act 129 implementation.

  • Over the last several years, KEEA has successfully protected customers against multiple attempts to cut Act 129 budgets by making large customer contributions to the program voluntary.

Four Seasons Produce, Inc. Innovates In Energy Efficiency Savings With Act 129 To Reduce Customer Costs & Improve Satisfaction

The Energy Efficiency Investment Act

KEEA’s goal is to expand the energy efficiency economy even further, beyond what Act 129 can currently deliver. Our team is advancing bi-partisan measures in both chambers of the PA legislature to allow for significantly more investment in energy efficiency. According to an analysis from ACEEE, the Energy Efficiency Investment Act, if passed into law, could unlock 30,000 jobs and about $6.4 billion in net savings by removing barriers to energy efficiency investment.

Read more about the bills here:

Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) Improves The Health & Lives of Neighborhoods While Creating Good Energy Efficiency Jobs

Next Steps for Act 129

As Phase IV approaches, and under the threat of industrial opt-outs that could effectively declaw Act 129, KEEA continues to advance strong policies like the Energy Efficiency Investment Act. We are joined by our member business, several of them featured here, who drive the energy efficiency economy and create stable, well-paying jobs.

DMI Companies Saves With Energy Efficiency While Manufacturing Most Efficient HVAC Products In US