At Synapse’s Recommendation, Kentucky PSC Orders Utilities to Commission a Study on the Potential for Energy Efficiency in the Industrial Sector

The Kentucky Public Service Commission found in a November 14 order that two utilities in the state should commission a study that examines the potential benefits of industrial demand-side management programs. The decision came after Synapse filed testimony that documented, among other concerns, that the Companies had not considered the opportunities available from these programs, despite an interest among their industrial customers, and were therefore likely missing opportunities to achieve a significant amount of cost-effective savings.

The utilities, Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities, filed a joint application last January requesting approval of their proposed 2015-2018 Demand-Side Management and Energy Efficiency Program Plan. Synapse prepared testimony in the case on behalf of the Sierra Club after reviewing the Companies’ proposed plan, discovery responses, and supporting documentation, including an energy efficiency potential study and historical review of the Companies’ demand-side management programs.

Synapse expert witness Tim Woolf found that despite the utilities’ claim that there is not sufficient interest to make it economical to offer demand-side management programming to the industrial sector, many industrial customers responded positively to the Companies’ most recent survey and few responded that they would definitely opt out. The Commission ultimately reached the same conclusion.

“The Companies make much of the assumption that the heavy-use industrial customers will opt out, neglecting the fact that approximately 800 industrial customers' usage is equal to that of the average residential customers,” the Commission writes on page 30 of the order. “Thus, there is sufficient justification for the Companies to at least explore the potential benefits of industrial DSM/EE programs to industrial customers other than those that have energy-intensive processes.”