Energy Efficiency And Electric Infrastructure In Washington D.C.

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Energy Efficiency and Electric
Infrastructure in Washington, D.C.
In any given state, there are a range of stakeholders well-positioned to contribute to the design and delivery of effective energy
efficiency programming. This factsheet provides an overview of relevant entities in Washington D.C., along with highlights of state
policies and practices related to energy efficiency. The entity types described and highlighted below are typically involved in electricity
and/or energy efficiency related matters in states. Other important stakeholders such as trade associations, industry, and local
businesses are not included as they vary significantly from state to state.
* * *
Electric Market Overview
Electric Utilities
Privately- and publicly-owned electric utilities generate, transmit, distribute, and/or sell electricity primarily for use by the public. These
include investor-owned electric utilities, municipal and state utilities, Federal electric utilities, and rural electric cooperatives.1 The
following summarizes electric utilities in Washington D.C. by type:

Investor-Owned Electric Utility:
Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO):
Since 2001, electric rates for Washington, D.C. residents have been separated or “unbundled” into generation, transmission
and distribution services. Electric customers can choose their electric generation and transmission supplier, while PEPCO
remains the sole electric distribution company. For a complete list of suppliers:
Other: 15 Generation and Transmission, 1 Retail Power Marketer2
Electric utility service areas (as available):
Status of Electric Industry Restructuring
Vertically integrated utilities are responsible for generation, transmission and distribution of power to customers. In the 1990’s, many
states began to unbundle the electricity supply and distribution functions of investor-owned utilities on the theory that only the wires (the
fixed network system) constituted a natural monopoly, while the generation of power did not. In states that have undergone
restructuring, individual retail customers can choose their supplier but still receive delivery over the power lines of the local utility.3

The District of Columbia has a restructured electric industry.
Regional Transmission Organization (RTO)/Independent System Operator(ISO)
About 60% of U.S. electric power supply is managed by RTOs or ISOs: independent, membership-based organizations that ensure
reliability and usually manage the regional electric supply market for wholesale electric power. In the rest of the country, electricity
1 Source: EIA
2 Sources: EIA 2013 Form EIA-861 Utility Data ( ) and District of Columbia Public Service Commission:
3 Source: RA
systems are operated by individual utilities or utility holding companies. RTOs/ISOs engage in long-term planning that involves
identifying effective, cost-efficient ways to ensure grid reliability and system-wide benefits. Coordination and cooperation between
utilities, state PUCs and RTOs/ISOs is often required to advance energy efficiency goals.4

Washington D.C. is part of the RTO Pennsylvania Jersey Maryland (PJM):
Utility Oversight and Planning
Utility Oversight
Public utility commissions (PUCs) oversee goals, investments, and ratemaking for investor-owned electric utilities. Most of this oversight
is conducted via specific regulatory proceedings. Municipally-owned utilities are governed by a local city council or an elected
commission, and member-owned/cooperative utilities are governed by a board elected by members. In a few states, PUCs have
oversight over some aspects of municipally and member-owned utility performance such as energy efficiency resource standards.5

The Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia was established by the US Congress in 1913 as an independent
District Government agency to regulate the electric, natural gas and telephone companies serving the District. Since January
2001, all residential and commercial electricity customers can choose their supplier of generation and transmission (G&T)
services, while PEPCO is the sole provider of distribution services:
Integrated Resource/Procurement Planning
Integrated resource plans (IRPs) are utility plans for meeting forecasted annual peak and energy demand through a portfolio of supplyside and demand-side resources over a specified future period. As of early 2015, integrated resource planning is required or present in
more than 30 states, including most vertically integrated/non restructured states. In states that are restructured, regulated distribution
only utilities may be required to develop procurement plans to service customers that do not choose a competitive retail supplier.
Energy efficiency is considered as a demand-side resource but the degree to which it is included in resource/procurement planning is
influenced by other factors including policies such as energy efficiency resource standards or requirements that all cost effective energy
efficiency be considered.6
 There is currently no policy in place that treats energy efficiency as a
Statewide Planning Process
States sometimes undertake executive or legislatively driven statewide energy planning processes. These plans may be completely
independent of utilities or may explicitly engage utilities.

Sustainable DC (2012):
Clean and Affordable Energy Act (2008):
4 Source: EPA Energy and Environment Guide to Action
5 Sources: EPA Energy and Environment Guide to Action and RAP
6 Source: EPA Energy and Environment Guide to Action
Energy Efficiency Potential Studies
Energy efficiency potential studies determine the amount of technical, economic, and achievable potential for energy efficiency in a
region, state, or utility service territory. Energy efficiency potential studies may be undertaken by state agencies or energy efficiency
advocacy organizations, or by utilities as part of or to inform compliance with a regulatory requirement. The following are recent energy
efficiency potential studies:

Electric and Natural Gas Energy Efficiency and Demand Response Potential for the District of Columbia Final Draft (2013):
Estimating the Energy-Efficiency Potential in the Eastern Interconnection (2013):
Energy Efficiency Policies/Activities
Statewide Clean Energy Policy/Energy Efficiency Energy Resource Standard(s)
Energy efficiency resource standards (EERSs) require obligated parties—usually regulated retail distributors of electricity—to meet a
specific portion of their electricity demand through energy efficiency. As of March 2015, 27 states have some type of energy efficiency
requirement or goal.7

Washington D.C. does not have a mandatory energy efficiency resource standard.
Current Utility-Administered Energy Efficiency Programs
Energy efficiency is regarded as an important utility resource with co-benefits that include reducing air pollution, saving customers on
utility bills, and creating local jobs. While the majority of large-scale energy efficiency programs are funded by utility ratepayers,
program administration may be by the utility, the state, an independently awarded program administrator or a combination of entities.
Below are available links related to ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs offered:

In 2008, the Council of the District of Columbia enacted the Clean and Affordable Energy Act (CAEA), which established a
Sustainable Energy Trust Fund and the creation of a “Sustainable Energy Utility”, which is operated by the Vermont Energy
Investment Corporation under contract to the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE). The Sustainable Energy Utility is
responsible for administering sustainable energy programs in the District (
Program Administrator: DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU): and
Most recent program filing:
ENERGY STAR Partner since 2011
Other Key Stakeholders
State Air Office:

Department of Energy and Environment:
State Energy Office:

Department of Energy and Environment, Air Quality Division:
7 Ibid.

Consumer Advocate(s)
Most states also have one or more consumer advocacy organizations. Consumer Advocates are often concerned with maintaining low
rates and ensuring equitable treatment of all customer classes.8

District of Columbia Office of People’s Counsel: www.opc-dc/gov
Others Public Interest Groups
Groups representing environmental and other public interests are often involved in providing public input or technical expertise during
regulatory proceedings or stakeholder processes. The following energy efficiency organizations/nonprofits are active in the state or
Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships:
Alliance to Save Energy:
DC Environmental Network (DCEN):
DC Divest:
ENERGY STAR is the simple choice for energy efficiency. For more than 20 years, EPA’s ENERGY STAR program has been America’s
resource for saving energy and protecting the environment. Join the millions making a difference at
* Revised December 21, 2015. To alert the U.S. EPA of substantial policy changes or program updates, please contact
8 Source: EPA Energy and Environment Guide to Action

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