Big Energy Efficiency Gains in Tiny Rhode Island: National Grid

March 2, 2016
National Grid has seen big energy efficiency gains in little Rhode Island. In this podcast the utility offers insight into programs that are changing the way its customers in the state use energy.

National Grid has seen big energy efficiency gains in tiny Rhode Island, the smallest state geographically in the U.S.

In this podcast interview (click the player above), Laura Rodormer and Matthew Ray, senior strategic business analysts for National Grid, describe three programs:

  • How customers use home energy reports
  • A program that gets churches, schools, and municipal leaders involved in efficiency
  • SolarWise, a program that provides higher solar payments to customers who achieve high levels of energy efficiency and also produce solar power. This isn’t a net metering program, Rodormer notes.

National Grid is an electricity and gas delivery company that operates in Great Britain, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The energy efficiency program, which has been around for more than 30 years, has saved ratepayers more than $320 million in bill savings over the lifetime of the measures installed, says Rodormer.

In the home energy report program, customers receive reports in print and digital form 6 to 12 times a year, says Ray. “It shows them how they compare with neighbors and also can be tailored to show where they are most likely wasting energy,” he says. It includes competitions with neighbors that reward customers who save the most energy. People who move into the utility’s territory and sign up for this program are most likely to take action, he notes.

Under the “Find Your Four” program, National Grid invites city officials, pastors, business leaders, schools and others to help spread the word about energy efficiency. A competition among students that asked them to create videos about efficiency resulted in 10,000 people voting and communicating about efficiency, says Ray in this interview.

Under SolarWise, customers who achieve high levels of efficiency are eligible for bonus solar incentives. “If they achieve high levels of energy efficiency they get 39 cents/kWh from what they generate in solar. It’s a tariff. A fixed fee for a designated period of time,” explains Rodormer. “A standard customer gets 37 cents/kWh. But the high energy efficiency customers get higher payments per kWh.”

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About the Author

Lisa Cohn | Contributing Editor

I focus on the West Coast and Midwest. Email me at [email protected]

I’ve been writing about energy for more than 20 years, and my stories have appeared in EnergyBiz, SNL Financial, Mother Earth News, Natural Home Magazine, Horizon Air Magazine, Oregon Business, Open Spaces, the Portland Tribune, The Oregonian, Renewable Energy World, Windpower Monthly and other publications. I’m also a former stringer for the Platts/McGraw-Hill energy publications. I began my career covering energy and environment for The Cape Cod Times, where Elisa Wood also was a reporter. I’ve received numerous writing awards from national, regional and local organizations, including Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Willamette Writers, Associated Oregon Industries, and the Voice of Youth Advocates. I first became interested in energy as a student at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, where I helped design and build a solar house.

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