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Coastal states dominate ACEEE’s utility efficiency rankings

Massachusetts utilities clearly lead the way on saving energy, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

The ACEEE’s latest Utility Scorecard ranked two of the Bay State’s utilities together at the top of the list. Eversource Energy and National Grid Massachusetts were co-No. 1s for the second time in the energy efficiency ranking’s four-year history.

The ACEEE report researchers took time to study the utilities’ energy efficiency programs and results for all of 2018. Eversource and National Grid achieved energy savings of 3.1 percent and 3.7, respectively, as a percentage of energy sales. The two also tied atop the list in 2017.

The 52 utilities listed in the ACEEE Scorecard saved close to 20 TWh of energy in 2018 through more than 900 efficiency and savings programs, according to the report. Total energy savings by the top ranking utilities increased 20 percent over 2015 results.

San Diego Gas & Electric ranked third and Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) was fourth. ComEd’s Exelon corporate cousin utility Baltimore Gas & Electric shared fifth place with Pacific Gas & Electric.

ACEEE’s top 10 was rounded out by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), DTE Energy, Portland General Electric and Eversource Connecticut.

LADWP and Consumers Energy were the most improved utilities efficiency-wise compared to the previous year. Consumers Energy ranked 11th and Xcel Minnesota was 12th.

Eight of the top 10 utilities rated by ACEEE were based on either the east or west coasts. Chicago-based ComEd and Detroit-based DTE were the only midwestern utilities ranked highly.

No southeastern states were ranked in ACEEE’s top 20. The highest was Entergy Arkansas tied at 21 with AEP Ohio.

The report noted that 37 of the 52 named utilities were adopting greenhouse gas reduction goals at some level. Nineteen of those utilities scoring at the bottom half of the ACEEE’s scorecard have carbon goals, but need to ramp up energy efficiency efforts, it concluded.

“Energy efficiency is a critical tool for meeting these goals, and high savings can indicate that utilities are considering energy efficiency as a core element in their plans to reduce emissions,” the report read.

Many utilities are beginning to offer new programs or tools such as smart thermostats, online marketplaces for energy-efficient products, advanced metering infrastructure and distributed energy resources such as demand response and energy storage.

ACEEE was a nonprofit formed in 1980 and features dozens of energy researchers and analysts. Its research advisory board includes veterans from federal regulatory agencies, corporations, higher education and environmental advocacy groups.