Section 22. (a) The department shall appoint and convene an energy efficiency advisory council which shall consist of 15 members, including 1 person representing each of the following: (1) residential consumers, (2) the low-income weatherization and fuel assistance program network, (3) the environmental community, (4) businesses, including large C&I end-users, (5) the manufacturing industry, (6) energy efficiency experts, (7) organized labor, (8) the department of environmental protection, (9) the attorney general, (10) the executive office of housing and economic development, (11) the Massachusetts Non-profit Network, (12) a city or town in the commonwealth, (13) the Massachusetts association of realtors, (14) a business employing fewer than 10 persons located in the commonwealth that performs energy efficiency services and (15) the department of energy resources. Interested parties shall apply to the department for designation as members. Members shall serve for terms of 5 years and may be reappointed. The commissioner of energy resources shall serve as chair of the council. A member who is a representative of energy efficiency experts shall not have a contractual relationship with an electric or natural gas distribution company doing business in the commonwealth or any affiliate of such company, or any municipal aggregator. There shall be 1 non-voting, ex-officio member from each of the electric and natural gas distribution companies, 1 from each of the approved municipal aggregators, 1 from the heating oil industry, 1 from ISO New England and 1 from energy efficiency businesses.
(b) The council shall, as part of the approval process by the department, seek to maximize net economic benefits through energy efficiency and load management resources and to achieve energy, capacity, climate and environmental goals through a sustained and integrated statewide energy efficiency effort. The council shall review and approve demand resource program plans and budgets, work with program administrators in preparing energy resource assessments, determine the economic, system reliability, climate and air quality benefits of efficiency and load management resources, conduct and recommend relevant research, and recommend long term efficiency and load management goals to maximize economic savings and achieve environmental goals. Approval of efficiency and demand resource plans and budgets shall require a two-thirds majority vote. The council shall, as part of its review of plans, examine opportunities to offer joint programs providing similar efficiency measures that save more than 1 fuel resource or to coordinate programs targeted at saving more than one fuel resource. Any costs for joint programs shall be allocated equitably among the efficiency programs.
(c) The council may retain expert consultants; provided, however, that such consultants shall not have any contractual relationship with an electric or natural gas distribution company doing business in the commonwealth or any affiliate of such company.
The council shall annually submit to the department a proposal regarding the level of funding required for the retention of expert consultants and reasonable administrative costs. The proposal shall be approved by the department either as submitted or as modified by the department. The department shall allocate funds sufficient for these purposes from the natural gas and electric efficiency funding authorized under section 19; provided, however, that such allocation shall not exceed 1 per cent of such funding on an annual basis. The consultants used under this section shall be experts in energy efficiency and shall be independent.
(d) The electric and natural gas distribution companies and municipal aggregators shall provide quarterly reports to the council on the implementation of their respective plans. The reports shall include a description of the program administrator's progress in implementing the plan, a summary of the savings secured to date and such other information as the council shall determine. The council shall provide an annual report to the department and the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy on the implementation of the plan which includes descriptions of the programs, expenditures, cost-effectiveness and savings and other benefits during the previous year.
(e) A business employing fewer than 10 persons located in the commonwealth that performs energy efficiency services may only be appointed to the energy efficiency advisory council, under subsection (a), if the business is elected by a majority of businesses performing energy efficiency services in the Mass Save program.