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The Curse of the TRC

March/April 2013
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2013 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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February 25, 2013
Archaic utility cost effectiveness-testing is killing effective energy efficiency programs
Utility cost-effectiveness tests are used by program administrators, utilities, and regulators to understand whether the benefits of an energy program outweigh its costs. It seems to be a simple calculation, though it is anything but. Which benefits and which costs do you include, how do you calculate them, and are these the costs and benefits to the homeowner, the utility, or the program? Those in charge of taking public funds, often rate-payer funds, and using them to administer programs to advance public goods have been struggling with these questions since the ’70s when utility surcharges became a popular way of raising funds for improving utility performance, including advancing energy efficiency, conservation, and load management programs.

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