Cost of saving natural gas through efficiency programs funded by utility customers: 2012–2017

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This study estimates the cost of saving a therm of natural gas from energy efficiency programs funded by utility customers during the period 2012 to 2017. Berkeley Lab researchers compiled and analyzed efficiency program data reported by investor-owned utilities and other program administrators in a dozen states representative of the four U.S. Census regions — Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Utah. Depending on the year, the dataset accounts for about 50 percent to 70 percent of annual national spending on natural gas efficiency programs. 

The estimated cost of saving natural gas during the study period is $0.40 per therm. The analysis also includes estimates of the program administrator cost of saved energy for three core sectors for natural gas: commercial and industrial, residential, and low-income households. It aggregates these sectors to provide regional and national values. Our metrics include savings-weighted averages, unweighted medians, and interquartile ranges (25th and 75th percentiles) of the levelized program administrator cost of saving gas, in constant 2017 dollars. In addition, the study analyzes cost trends during the study period, finding that average program costs trended downward.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office supported this work.

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A webinar discussing this research, recorded on June 4, 2020 can be viewed here


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