Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programs

Demand-Side Management Programs

Avista has more than 30 years of experience in offering energy efficiency programs, building shared value for our residential and commercial/industrial customers. Our approach to energy efficiency is based on two key principles: to pursue all cost-effective electric and natural gas energy savings by offering financial incentives for most energy saving measures with a simple financial payback of over one year, and to use the most effective means to deliver energy efficiency services to customers. These mechanisms are varied and include:

  • Prescriptive programs or “standard offers” such as high efficiency appliance rebates;
  • Site-specific or “customized” analyses at customer premises;
  • “Market transformational,” or regional, efforts with other utilities;
  • Low-income weatherization services through local Community Action Agencies;
  • Low-cost/no-cost advice through a multi-channel communication effort; and
  • Support for cost-effective appliance standards and building codes.

Residential Energy Efficiency

The majority of energy efficiency—demand-side management (DSM)—programs available to residential customers are offered through prescriptive programs (or standard offer), targeting a range of end uses. Programs offered through this prescriptive approach during 2010 included space and water heating conversions, Energy Star® appliances, Energy Star homes, space and water equipment upgrades and home weatherization.

The remaining residential energy efficiency programs are offered through various channels. The refrigerator/freezer recycling program is offered through a third-party, JACO. Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL) and specialty CFL buy-downs at the manufacturer level provide customers access to lower-priced lamps. Home Energy Audits, newly offered in 2010, are subsidized by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and offer home inspections including numerous diagnostic tests and a leave-behind kit of CFLs and weatherization materials. Finally, educational tips and CFLs were provided through various rural and urban events in an effort to reach all areas within the company’s service territory. Specific program offerings differed slightly between the Washington/Idaho and the Oregon service areas.

Non-residential energy efficiency

For commercial, industrial and multi-family applications, energy efficiency programs are offered on a site specific (or custom) basis. However, when it can be established that treatments result in similar savings and the technical potential is high, a more prescriptive approach can be offered. Programs offered through Avista include space and water heater conversions, space and water equipment upgrades, appliance upgrades, cooking equipment upgrades, personal computer network controls, commercial clothes washers, lighting, motors, refrigerated warehouses, traffic signals, vending controls, compressed air, industrial processes and shell.

Washington and Idaho DSM programs and outcomes

Avista’s Demand-Side Management (DSM) services provide over 30 energy efficiency programs (representing over 300 measures) to the company’s Idaho and Washington electric and natural gas customers funded through the DSM Tariff Rider, a “non-bypassable" system benefit charge.

Avista’s DSM programs delivered 68,911 MWh and 1.9 million therms in efficiency savings in 2010. This achieved 105 percent of the company’s electric Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) goal and 85 percent of Avista’s natural gas IRP goal. Approximately 77 percent of the 2010 local program expenditures of $23 million were returned to customers in the form of rebates toward energy efficiency measures installed.

In addition to these local programs, Avista funds regional programs, in partnership with other utilities, through the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) to deliver additional savings to the company’s customers. Including NEEA funds, 2010 energy efficiency funding was over $24.8 million. We work in partnership with our External Energy Efficiency (Triple-E) Board, which is comprised of a wide variety of industry and regulatory professionals, and the dedication of experienced, talented and professional staff.

Energy Efficiency Programs—Washington/Idaho Customer Savings
Energy efficiency programs—
customer savings
2010 2009 2008 2007
Electric (kWh saved)
Residential 26 million 35 million 33 million 16.5 million
Non-residential 43 million 46.2 million 41.9 million 37.2 million
Natural gas (therms saved)
Residential 1.1 million 1.1 million 851,637 million 421,000
Non-residential 791,983 890,150 1.036 million 1.1 million

During 2010, over 36,000 rebates for residential energy efficiency projects were processed benefiting approximately 25,000 households. Nearly $6.3 million in rebates were provided directly to customers to offset the cost of implementing energy efficiency upgrades. Residential programs contributed 24,247 MWh and nearly 1.1 million therms in energy savings.

For non-residential customers, the company processed approximately 2,400 energy efficiency projects in 2010, resulting in the payment of $7.9 million in rebates paid directly to customers to offset the cost of their energy efficiency projects. These projects contributed 43,430 MWh and 742,559 therms in savings.

Oregon DSM programs and outcomes

Avista provides only natural gas to customers in our Oregon service territory. The company’s DSM portfolio is divided between three segments: residential weatherization, residential equipment and commercial/light industrial. Each segment makes up approximately one-third of the total DSM goal. The 2010 target from our Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) called for savings of 303,300 therms. The combined results for all programs totaled 312,400 therms—a 1 percent increase over 2009 results and approximately 3 percent over the 2010 IRP goal.

Approximately 68 percent of Avista’s 2010 DSM expenditures were returned to customers in the form of direct incentive payments. In addition, program participants received the benefits of over $96,000 in commercial and residential energy audits, which raises the value of the return to customers to 74.4 percent.

Avista Utilities 2010 DSM Program Review
Program 2010 IRP target (therms) Achieved savings (therms) % of target
Existing residential
State-mandated weatherization 97,056 99,491 1.03
Prescriptive residential equipment 97,056 100,042 1.03
Residential DSM portfolio total 194,112 199,533 1.03
Avista/earth trust of Oregon (ETO) programs
ETO programs* N/A 56.4  
Existing commercial/industrial
Commercial/industrial DSM 109,188 112,810 1.03
Grand total 303,300 312,400 103%
*ETO program total is the result of commitments made in 2009.

Getting the efficiency word out

Avista has increased its promotion of energy efficiency through the “Every Little Bit” campaign. This multi-media effort came out of market research which indicated that customers had three concerns about increasing their energy efficiency: “it costs too much,” “I’ve done all I can,”and “it doesn’t make that much difference.” The award-winning Every Little Bit theme was chosen as a vehicle to address these concerns and assist in removing these perceptual barriers.

Teaching kids the energy efficiency habit

Wattson, Avista’s Energy Watch Dog, leads a comprehensive community education and awareness program targeted to help children learn energy conservation and safety habits that will become a way of life for them and their families. In 2010, Wattson met more than 100,000 children and their families through 25 major community events throughout our service territory.