The EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act of 2008 (Maryland General Assembly, 2008) stipulates that the state must support energy efficiency programs toward goals of reducing electric energy consumption statewide by 15% by 2015 and electric demand reduction of 15% by 2015. In response to this act, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved five Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® (HPwES) programs submitted by electric utilities serving the state’s homes and businesses as part of the suite of residential EmPOWER programs. In the summer of 2009, Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) launched Maryland’s first HPwES program. The other independently owned utilities (IOUs) have followed BGE’s lead and now they all have a HPwES program within their residential portfolios overseen by the PSC. In 2012, the PSC commissioned a program evaluation report (Itron, 2013) published in 2013 that indicated poor cost-effectiveness performance of HPwES programs suggesting a benefit to cost ratio of approximately one-tenth of the amount spent on the program based on results reported through calendar year 2011. The evaluator’s results as determined through the Total Resource Cost (TRC) formula for each of the five participating IOU’s are shown in Figure 1.
Utility Benefit/Cost Ratio for HPwES Program (Source: Itron (Itron, 2013) As a key stakeholder in the design and execution of the EmPOWER programs, the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) requested a review of these cost-effectiveness determinations and recommendations for potential improvements to program design that may promote more positive benefit-cost ratios and broader adoption of the program by Maryland residents. SRA International, Inc. (SRA) was contracted to perform this study. This paper examines the process that contributes to program cost effectiveness including measures installed, associated benefits and costs, and calculations used. Additionally, successful programs in other states were examined to determine potential strategies for Maryland to adopt. A series of recommendations are presented for MEA to consider as modifications are developed for current and future program implementation.