Making the Business Case for Energy Efficiency

Jay Owen Resource Efficiency




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Making the Business Case for Energy Efficiency

The inherent conflict between a utility’s business objectives and the objectives of customer energy efficiency programs has long been recognized. Alternative regulatory mechanisms can be implemented that not only make utilities indifferent to the amount of energy they sell, but that also can provide positive earnings from their customer energy efficiency programs. 


ACEEE examined the experiences of a selected group of utilities to find out how well such regulations have worked. The utilities we selected all have relatively large-scale energy efficiency programs that serve all types of customers. We interviewed utility program managers and executives as well as clean-energy advocates and regulators. We also examined the financial performance of these utilities as represented by their stock performance.


What we found is that these utilities all have performed well financially. We found no evidence to suggest that energy efficiency programs have had negative effects on shareholder returns. While addressing utility business concerns with energy efficiency programs is clearly important, doing so is really just one part of comprehensive policies and regulations that support customer energy efficiency programs… 


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About ACEEE: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit