Meanwhile, at the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) activity under the docket UM 1622 continues on two fronts. First, input is being solicited on the value of natural gas hedging strategies from DSM actions. Northwest Natural recently “kicked off” this conversation in a public workshop. Comments are being solicited through March 3rd. OPUC staff lead, Jason Klotz, indicates that the issue could come before the Commission at its March 24th public hearing if all parties stay on the same page (if not, the issue will be delayed).
At the same time, the Energy Trust of Oregon has submitted a proposed approach to creating an “incentive cost cap” for certain residential natural gas energy efficiency measures. The idea of a cost cap was suggested by the OPUC in its UM 1622 deliberations. The ETO paper provides a starting point for that discussion. In essence, the idea hopes to address a hollowing out of natural gas energy efficiency measures in the residential sector created by low natural gas prices effect on cost effectiveness calculations. Many popular and longstanding insulation actions were deemed to be non-cost effective based on lower natural gas avoided costs. The incentive cost cap idea is proposed as a mitigation step to try to reclaim a portion of that ground. The ETO cost cap idea can be viewed HERE.