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 its service territory. In the first seven years of the law, utility programs, to meet reduction targets, have delivered $6.4 billion in benefits to all customer classes.
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.
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 local jobs that can’t be outsourced.
- Energy efficiency accounts for more than 62,000 Pennsylvania jobs, according to a 2017 report from the S. Department of Energy.
- Efficiency jobs can be found in every county in the Commonwealth, and most jobs are in fields like construction that can’t be outsourced.
- The energy efficiency workforce includes electricians, engineers, trained technicians, financial analysts, construction workers, facility managers, software developers, marketing professionals, and other specialists.
- For more information on Pennsylvania’s energy efficiency jobs, read KEEA & E2’s 2017 Clean Jobs Report.
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.