Johnson Consulting Group

Fall Edition
Autumn Brings New Adventures 
Fall has always been my favorite time of year.  It's a time for new beginnings - like birthdays, first days of school, and starting new projects and activities.  I will be spending part of this autumn watching the leaves change in the mountains of Colorado before heading home for family celebrations including hayrides, apple cider and fresh donuts.
We wish all of our friends a warm and cozy autumn - and we hope this season will also bring you new opportunities and adventures for you as well.
         Dr. Katherine Johnson, President
Arkansas TRM V 8.0 Approved

Mesa Point Energy and Johnson Consulting Group announce the release of a new white paper addressing the current approaches used to quantify energy savings possibilities from Tier 2 Advanced Power Strips and identify areas for research in this fast-changing and evolving market.

Reliable savings quantification is possible, but to ensure the use of best practices, DSM program design and Technical Reference (TRM) development must avoid using incomplete and limited research that does not have wide support in the industry to differentiate between different APS Tier 2 products and their various implementation and control strategies.  Some TRMs have diverted from best practices by using preliminary and questionable information to differentiate different Tier 2 APS products. Such use of potential unreliable information creates an unfair and incorrect view of the available technology and thus negatively affects the development and implementation of this valuable measure in the market place.  It may also adversely affect the ability of sponsoring organization, such as investor-owned utilities, to achieve their long-term energy savings goals by relying on deemed values that may significantly over-state actual energy savings.   
To download the new white paper that provides an objective review of Tier 2 APS savings claims, please click here.
NSPM Case Study - Arkansas' Approach
The Parties Working Collaboratively (PWC) in Arkansas have also been busy completing a case study of its cost-benefit analysis. Specifically, the Arkansas Public Service Commission directed the Parties Working Collaboratively (PWC) to consider the findings and recommendations of the National Standard Practice Manual (NSPM)[1] on November 2, 2017. The PWC formed the NSPM Working Group which has been meeting on a regular basis. The PWC NSPM Working Group collaborated with E4TheFuture to develop a Case Study regarding the NSPM in Arkansas.
The overall goal of this case study was to document Arkansas' progress in adhering to the six NSPM underlying principles. Specifically, this case study:
  * Summarizes the status of six of the seven Arkansas Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs)[2] regarding incorporating the NSPM principles into their current energy efficiency policies and programs' cost-effectiveness analysis; and
  * Identifies specific areas in which additional review, discussion, and consideration may be needed to fully meet these underlying principles.
This case study provides a snapshot of current IOU cost-effectiveness practices during Program Year 2017 and Program Year 2018. However, the energy efficiency landscape in Arkansas is constantly evolving.  
While the case study did identify some areas of inconsistency with the NSPM Principles, overall it reinforced a key conclusion:

"Arkansas has demonstrated ongoing leadership and commitment to sound energy efficiency programs and policies for a number of years. This is evident in its long history of establishing policies that promote energy efficiency programs and its commitment to measuring the overall effectiveness in both program planning and implementation through annual EM&V and transparent reporting." (p. ii).    

[1] Order No. 27, Docket No. 10-100-R and Order No. 40, Docket No. 13-002-U.
[2] Due to its uniquely small and rural service territory and corresponding waiver of certain C&EE Rules and requirements as recognized by the Commission in Docket No. 07-076-TF, Order No. 62. The Empire District Electric Company was not used in the NSPM study group.
To read more about the key findings, conclusions and recommendations, please click these links:

Quantifying Savings from Tier 2 Advanced Power Strips

For the past year, Johnson Consulting Group and Mesa Point Energy have been working together on reviewing recent studies regarding estimating savings from Tier 2 Advanced Power Strips (APS). Our newest collaboration was to provide Solicited Comments regarding a recently completed study in Massachusetts (RLPNC-3) which developed performance bands for savings estimates for Tier 2 APS, which was completed in August 2018.

This review reinforced the challenges associated with quantifying savings for these residential devices, and described the inconsistencies used to determine savings for this equipment category, building upon our previous reviews of Tier 2 APS devices.  Please click on this link to read the review.  
While the MA APS Study 2018 provides new insights into the complexity of accurately estimating energy usage from Tier 2 Advance Power Strips (APS). Given that entertainment devices make up 60 percent of all plug load consumption by home electronics, and that percentage is projected to increase as households purchase more electronics (CalPlug 2014, p. 15), this is a critical area of study for program administrators, evaluators, and planners.  
Therein lies the challenge. Savings from APS are harder to quantify compared to other energy efficiency products, such as lighting, since APS units include control systems that are not in and of themselves inherently efficient. Rather, APS devices create efficiencies because they control the amount of energy that other devices use (NEEP Case Study 2015, p. 1).  
In this way, APS devices are similar to smart or programmable thermostats that rely on the interaction of customer behavior with programming to capture energy savings. Both programmable thermostats and APS devices require user engagement to achieve energy savings. Energy savings estimation is further complicated by the nearly unlimited configurations and types of residential audio visual (AV) entertainment systems (EEDAL 2017, pp. 1,8).    
While the MA APS Study did collect metering data from a number of sites during an extended period of time, the study design and execution did not sufficiently minimize these challenges which have been identified as substantial factors in estimating the energy savings for Tier 2 APS devices. These issues are described in depth in our Solicited Comments. To read the full report, please click here: Comments on RLPNC 17-3_09-10-2018.pdf 
Estimating Savings from Gas Utility Programs

Johnson Consulting Group continues its program evaluation activities for three gas utilities.
Washington Gas, which serves Northern Virginia;
Colorado Natural Gas (CNG) and Atmos Energy, which serves primarily rural areas throughout Colorado. 
The Washington Gas program evaluation was completed in September, with assistance from ADM Associates. This evaluation confirmed that the utility has made significant progress in promoting its WiFi-enabled thermostat and high efficiency furnace rebates to residential customers. Among the key conclusions were that the Washington Gas has significantly increased energy efficiency program activities targeting both residential and commercial customers. customers and these programs continue to perform well. This evaluation also provided specific recommendations on ways to enhance program marketing and outreach activities across its program portfolio.   
In October, we will be teaming with Apex Analytics to complete program evaluations for both CNG and Atmos Energy. These evaluations will document the progress that these two utilities are making in reaching both residential and C&I customers throughout their service territories.
Stay tuned for more details of these evaluations as results will be reported in early 2019.

Fun Stuff In This Issue  
Grit & Granite, Katherine's first novel is in production! This novel is a fictionalized account of a real life event that set a small town lawyer against one of the largest and most powerful corporations in the United States.  This story tells of his fight against corporate great and ambition to protect his client's legacy and fortune.  This battle also created collateral damage of despair, disappointment, and disillusionment in his own family.  Was the struggle worth the risk of losing the most important treasure of all -- his family? 
Check out details on our dedicated website.  Order forms coming soon!  
Where in the World is Dr. KJ?

* October 15-19: Fall Fun in Ouray, CO
* October 22-24: ACEEE's inaugural Rural Energy Conference and SEEA's Fusion Conference, Atlanta, GA. Panelist on Public Health and Environment Panel. 

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