Johnson Consulting Group


Winter Edition



A Blizzard of Projects!


While the East Coast continues to dig out from the Epic Snowstorm of 2016, and the West Coast is facing blizzards and power outages, the first quarter of 2016 brought a deluge of projects in all shapes and sizes for Johnson Consulting Group.

Katherine managed to avoid the snowstorms as she was stuck in San Francisco following a workshop at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). However, she was a bit homesick, as she couldn't wait to meet the newest member of the Johnson Consulting Group staff, her Glen of Imaal Terrier puppy.

Katherine also continued her coast-to-coast trek to support EM&V activities from Maine to California, with a few stopovers in warmer climates like Arkansas and Arizona. Wherever you go this winter season, we hope you are safe, warm and able to cuddle up with the ones you love.

                                  Dr. Katherine Johnson, President


Taking Care of Commission Business: California, Maine & Arkansas



In her role as the Evaluation, Measurement & Verification (EM&V) Advisor to the CPUC, Katherine led a workshop focusing on "What's Next for the RENs?" This two-hour workshop, which was overseen by Administrative Law Judge Todd Edmister, is part of a larger effort to address two different but distinct questions bearing on the future of the Regional Energy Networks (RENs): 

1.     Does the REN program performance warrant continuing REN programs, regardless of whether RENs remain PAs?  Which programs should continue to receive expanded or reduced funding or be terminated?

2.     Should RENs remain PAs in connection with whatever portfolio of programs they oversee?

ALJ Edmister directed that parties should use the following Commission-sponsored evaluation reports in preparing comments which are due February 26, 2016:

1.     The Program Year 2013-2014 RENs Value and Effectiveness Study Draft Report, The Value and Effectiveness Study, conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, Final, January 5, 2016 (Value and Effectiveness Study).

2.     2013-2014 RENs and Community Choice Aggregator Programs Impact Assessment Final  Report, January 7, 2016 (Impact Assessment Study), prepared by Itron, Apex Analytics and DNV-GL.

3.     RENs Reconciliation Memo, January 7, 2016, Dr. Katherine Johnson, Evaluation, Measurement and Verification Advisor-Energy Division, CPUC.


In early January, Johnson Consulting Group along with Mesa Point Energy were asked to provide the Maine Public Utilities Commission Staff with additional technical guidance and support as it considers the next Triennial Plan for 2016-2019 prepared by Efficiency Maine Trust (EMT).

For this assignment, Katherine will be working with Dr. Jim Bradford of Mesa Point Energy to provide assistance on a variety of tasks including:

1.     Reviewing and analyzing the assumptions used to develop Maine Technical Reference Manuals (TRMs) and other sources of information used by EMT, as well as the Baseline Studies.

2.     Review the methods used to EMT to measure and verify energy savings and determine free-ridership and other NTG levels.

The Maine PUC is also interested in learning about best practices in TRM development and management, so we will be sharing the lessons we have learned and best practices we have gained for our TRM work in Arkansas and Texas as well. 



As an early Christmas present, the Arkansas Public Service Commission issued two new and very interesting order in December 2015. These orders directed that Parties Working Collaboratively (PWC) work with the Independent Evaluation Monitor (IEM) to address the following topics as they relate to determining program effectiveness.  Johnson Consulting Group, as the lead contractor for the IEM, will be working with the staff from Apex Analytics, Eisenberg Energy, The Forward Curve, Mesa Point Energy and Michaels Energy:

  • Non Energy Benefits (NEBs): The Commission in Docket No. 13-002-U Order No. 30, 12/10/2015 directed that "therefore directs that the IEM be requested to develop Non Energy Benefit values ..."  for the following categories:

-  Benefits of electricity, natural gas, and liquid propane energy savings;
-  Benefits of public water and wastewater savings; 
-  Benefits of avoided and deferred equipment costs (p. 20).

  • Energy Efficiency Targets: On December 17, 2015, the Commission in Docket NO. 13-002-U, Order No. 31, set the following new targets for the next three years:

-  For PY 2017-2018, utility energy savings targets shall be 0.90% of 2015 retail sales for electric IOUs, and shall be 0.50% of 2015 retail sales for natural gas IOUs. 
-  For PY 2019, utility energy savings targets shall be 1.0% of 2015 retail sales for electric IOUs, and shall be 0.50% of 2015 retail sales for natural gas IOUs.

In addition, the Commission asked the IEM to conduct a benchmarking assessment to determine how Arkansas Investor-Owned Utilities' (IOUs) Cost of Saved Energy (CSE) compares to other jurisdictions across the US. 


We will be addressing these issues, and more, at our upcoming meeting of the PWC in February.


AESP 26th National Conference in Phoenix, AZ

Katherine Johnson recently participated in a conference with a bit of theater and also as a panelist.  Nearly 1000 attendees learned last week what an engaging presenter Katherine is.

Katherine was also in a skit at the conference titled: "The Futures of Energy: Utopian, Dystopian, and Just Plain Weird" with Adele Bihn (Data Marketing, Inc.), Stephen Bickel (D&R International), Seth  Bauer and Mei Shibata (essence partners).  AESP has posted it on youtube. Click here to check it out! 


Evaluating Energy Efficiency
for Gas Utilities

The Johnson Consulting Group staff has also been busy completing several program evaluations for gas utilities in Virginia and Colorado. These evaluation activities include conducting a water heating impact study for Columbia Gas of Virginia and determining program success for the Partners in Energy Savings (PIES), a group of three natural gas utilities in Colorado. Key findings and lessons learned from these program evaluations will be shared in future newsletters.

In This Issue



Where in the World is Dr. KJ?


* Feb. 25 PWC Meeting, Little Rock, AR


* Mar. 22-23 PUC Hearings, Augusta, ME 


* Mar. 28 Stakeholder Meeting, St. Louis, MO


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Fun Stuff 


Meet Bonnie, the newest member of the Johnson Consulting Group Staff - social director. Bonnie is a Glen of Imaal Terrier, an Irish terrier that was bred to work silently. She hasn't quite mastered working silently, but has settled in nicely with the pack, Bailey- a Maltese-Glen Mix (we think) and Brann, our senior Glen.