Bill Richardson,
Governor of New Mexico
 
Santa Fe, NM, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- March 6, 2008 – The Governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, has signed HB 305 – a bill that directs electric and gas utilities to provide cost-effective and achievable energy efficiency resources to their customers.

“This bill is good for the environment and good for New Mexico's energy consumers,” said Governor Richardson. “We will now guarantee that utilities will provide more energy efficiency to New Mexico consumers. In the long-run, this requirement will be less costly than building and operating new power plants.”

Electric utilities must achieve a minimum of 5 percent energy efficiency savings from 2005 electricity sales by 2014, and 10 percent by 2020. The Public Regulation Commission (PRC) will be able to set alternative energy efficiency requirements if the electric utility demonstrates it cannot meet the minimum requirements.

HB 305 authorizes the PRC to approve energy efficiency programs designed to reduce the burden of energy costs on low-income customers. The bill also declares that it is necessary to provide financial incentives for energy efficiency and load management resources. It maintains and clarifies that PRC-approved energy efficiency programs must be cost effective, and less expensive than pursuing new sources of supply.

HB 305 allows the PRC to require utilities to solicit competitive bids from third party contractors for energy efficiency services; maintains the existing total per customer cost impact cap; strengthens the energy efficiency measurement and verification requirement; and requires a detailed assessment of the utility’s energy efficiency programs every three years by an independent program evaluator.

Among the bill’s provisions is the passing of legislation that allows utilities to recover the costs of reasonable and prudently incurred expenses of energy efficiency and load management programs, as well as allowing public utilities the opportunity to earn a profit on cost-effective energy efficiency and load management resource development that, with satisfactory program performance, is financially more attractive than developing supply-side resources.

The bill also stipulates that the commission shall, upon petition or its own motion, identify regulatory disincentives or barriers for public utility expenditures on energy efficiency and load management measures and ensure that they are removed in a manner that balances the public interest, consumers' interests and investors' interests.