Section 19. (a) The department shall require a mandatory charge of 2.5 mills per kilowatt-hour for all consumers, except those served by a municipal lighting plant, to fund energy efficiency programs including, but not limited to, demand side management programs. The programs shall be administered by the electric distribution companies and by municipal aggregators with energy plans certified by the department under subsection (b) of section 134 of chapter 164. In addition to the aforementioned mandatory charge, such programs shall also be funded, without further appropriation, by: (1) amounts generated by the distribution companies and municipal aggregators under the Forward Capacity Market program administered by ISO-NE, as defined in section 1 of chapter 164; and (2) cap and trade pollution control programs, including, but not limited to, and subject to section 22 of chapter 21A, not less than 80 per cent of amounts generated by the carbon dioxide allowance trading mechanism established under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Memorandum of Understanding, as defined in subsection (a) of section 22 of chapter 21A, and the NOx Allowance Trading Program; and (3) other funding as approved by the department after consideration of: (i) the effect of any rate increases on residential and commercial consumers; (ii) the availability of other private or public funds, utility administered or otherwise, that may be available for energy efficiency or demand resources; and (iii) whether past programs have lowered the cost of electricity to residential and commercial consumers. In authorizing such programs, the department shall ensure that they are delivered in a cost-effective manner capturing all available efficiency opportunities, minimizing administrative costs to the fullest extent practicable and utilizing competitive procurement processes to the fullest extent practicable.
(b) The department may approve and fund gas energy efficiency programs proposed by gas distribution companies including, but not limited to, demand side management programs. Energy efficiency activities eligible for funding under this section shall include combined heat and power and geothermal heating and cooling projects. Funding may be supplemented by funds authorized by section 21. The programs shall be administered by the gas distribution companies. In authorizing such programs, the department shall ensure that they are delivered in a cost-effective manner capturing all available efficiency opportunities, minimizing administrative costs to the fullest extent practicable and utilizing competitive procurement processes to the fullest extent practicable.
(c) Electric and gas energy efficiency program funds shall be allocated to customer classes, including the low-income residential subclass, in proportion to their contributions to those funds; provided, however, that at least 10 per cent of the amount expended for electric energy efficiency programs and at least 20 per cent of the amount expended for gas energy efficiency programs shall be spent on comprehensive low-income residential demand side management and education programs. The low-income residential demand side management and education programs shall be implemented through the low-income weatherization and fuel assistance program network and shall be coordinated with all electric and gas distribution companies in the commonwealth with the objective of standardizing implementation. Such programs shall be screened only through cost-effectiveness testing which compares the value of program benefits to program costs to ensure that a program is designed to obtain energy savings and system benefits with value greater than the costs of the program.
[ Subsection (d) added by 2012, 209, Sec. 5 effective November 1, 2012 until December 31, 2015 applicable as provided by 2012, 209, Sec. 57. Deleted by 2012, 209, Sec. 6. See 2012, 209, Sec. 58.]
(d) There shall be a voluntary accelerated rebate pilot program which shall be made available to the 5 largest commercial or industrial electric users and 5 largest commercial or industrial gas users in each utility service territory. Multiple locations of the same customer shall not be aggregated for purposes of meeting this threshold. Eligible customers electing to participate in the accelerated pilot program shall notify the appropriate electric distribution company, gas company or municipal aggregator, hereafter known as the program administrator, on or before January 31 of each calendar year during the pilot program. Customers electing to participate shall be eligible for financial support of up to 100 per cent of the cost for qualified energy efficiency measures, as determined by the program administrator, using criteria included in the efficiency investment plans established by section 21. Total rebate levels for participating customers in any year of the pilot program shall not exceed 90 per cent of the amount the customer was charged for energy efficiency programs during calendar year 2012. A participating customer shall not aggregate a rebate from any year in which the customer does not participate in the pilot program. Qualified energy efficiency measures shall include cost-effective energy efficiency program measures approved by the applicable program administrator recognized by the department using criteria under said section 21; provided, however, that up to 15 per cent of any accelerated rebate may be used for other improvements that support energy efficiency improvements made under a program approved by the department or emission reductions, including, but not limited to, infrastructure improvements, metering, circuit level technology and software. Customers opting to receive an accelerated rebate shall be ineligible for other energy efficiency program rebates under said section 21 during the period in which they participate in the pilot program. All qualified installations shall be substantially completed by the end of the program, and shall be subject to verification and review by the department. Electric and gas distribution companies shall recalibrate their energy efficiency goals, as reviewed by the energy efficiency advisory council under subsection (c) of said section 21, to reflect the rebates provided to any customer electing to participate in this pilot program. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to cause a decrease in the funding of the low-income residential demand-side management and education programs funded under this section.