Paving The Way For Increased Energy Efficiency In Washington State

Earthjustice took action to decouple the profits of a Pacific NW utility from its sales, paving the way for the reduction of fossil fuel use and increased energy efficiency. In 2013, an agreement was reached that helps Washington’s largest utility increase its energy efficiency savings.

Attorneys

Amanda Goodin

Regional Office / Program

Case Overview

The utilities that supply electricity to consumers typically have a financial disincentive to be energy efficient. They get paid based on how much power they sell, so if they sell less power by increasing energy efficiency, profits drop.

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is one such utility. Earthjustice took legal action to “decouple” its profits from the amount of electricity it sells. Decoupling breaks the link between the utility’s profits and how much power it sells, allowing utilities to increase their energy efficiency efforts without financial penalties. In June 2013, Washington regulators agreed to a plan that allows PSE to increase its electricity savings by at least 5 percent while making PSE’s revenue more predictable.

Because utility profits are often tied to how much power is sold, most utilities have a financial disincentive to save energy.
Because utility profits are often tied to how much power is sold, most utilities have a financial disincentive to save energy. (iStockphoto)

Case Updates

December 5, 2017 Document

Settlement: Contested Issues in Puget Sound Energy Rate Case

Multiparty Settlement Stipulation and Agreement

December 5, 2017 Document

Final Order: Contested Issues in Puget Sound Energy Rate Case

Final Order Rejecting Tariff Sheets; Approving and Adopting Settlement Stipulation; Resolving Contested Issues; and Authorizing and Requiring Compliance Filing

June 26, 2013 Press Release: Victory

Negotiations Net Big Wins for Energy Efficiency, Coal Plant Closure and Low-Income Assistance

Washington regulators approve innovative rate-making mechanisms for Puget Sound Energy