AN ACT establishing a low-moderate income community solar savings program and relative to statewide energy efficiency programs.


SPONSORS: Sen. Watters, Dist 4; Sen. Avard, Dist 12; Sen. Perkins Kwoka, Dist 21; Sen. D'Allesandro, Dist 20; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Sen. Hennessey, Dist 1; Sen. Whitley, Dist 15; Sen. Rosenwald, Dist 13; Sen. Soucy, Dist 18; Sen. Gannon, Dist 23; Sen. Sherman, Dist 24; Sen. Giuda, Dist 2; Rep. Cali-Pitts, Rock. 30; Rep. McGhee, Hills. 27


COMMITTEE: Energy and Natural Resources






This bill establishes a program for low-moderate income electric customers to participate in qualifying community solar savings projects built within their service territory.  The bill also establishes a program for the implementation and funding of an energy efficiency resource standard and energy efficiency plan to be developed jointly by utilities and filed jointly for approval by the public utilities commission.


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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.






In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Two


AN ACT establishing a low-moderate income community solar savings program and relative to statewide energy efficiency programs.


Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:


1  Net Energy Metering; Community Solar Savings Program.  RSA 362-A:9, XIV(d) and (e) are repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

(d)  The electric distribution utilities shall establish a list of potential low-moderate income residential customers who qualify to benefit from the low-moderate income community solar addition.  This list shall consist of residents who have applied to take advantage of the state Electric Assistance Program administered by the commission.

(e)  Within 90 days of the effective date of this subparagraph, the commission shall develop a process by which community solar developers can apply for designation as a community solar savings project.  Such projects designate their production for the benefit of households on the list required in subparagraph (d).  Such projects will qualify for the low-moderate income solar addition as established in subparagraph (c) and shall specify the amount of on-bill credit they can offer to low-moderate income homeowners.  Annually, the number of projects designated as low-moderate income community solar shall not exceed a total nameplate capacity rating of 6 megawatts in the aggregate.  If more than 6 megawatts of projects apply for designation, the commission shall select the projects that offer the largest on-bill credit.

(f)  Each year, the electric distribution utilities shall, by means of a lottery, select households to enroll as off-takers for these low-moderate income community solar projects built within their service territory.  Customers shall be enrolled on an opt-out basis, and notified by mail of their enrollment.  Once enrolled, such customers shall receive on-bill credits until such time as they no longer qualify for the Electric Assistance Program, or until they opt out from receiving credits.

(g)  Nothing in this chapter shall preclude low-moderate income solar community projects from enrolling customers through any other method besides the process described in subparagraphs (d)-(f).

(h)  The commission is authorized to assess fines against, revoke the registration of, and prohibit from doing business in the state, any group host which violates the requirements of this paragraph or rules adopted for this paragraph by the department pursuant to paragraph X.

2  New Chapter; Statewide Energy Efficiency Programs.  Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 374-H the following new chapter:



374-I:1  Purpose.  Seeking and then achieving all cost-effective energy efficiency for energy consumers in New Hampshire is in the public interest because it:  (a) reduces energy costs and improves the security of the state and local economies; (2) reduces economic insecurity from the inefficient use of regulated and unregulated energy sources; (3) diverts wealth that is otherwise exported to create useful opportunities for employment within the state.  It is therefore in the public interest to adopt an energy efficiency resource standard and to require the state’s electric and natural gas utilities to work jointly to implement the standard on a statewide basis,

374-I:2  Definitions.  In this chapter:

I.  “Commission” means the public utilities commission.

II.  “Consumer price index” means the most recently available inflation measure calculated by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, for all urban consumers.

III.  “Cost-effective” means that the longterm financial benefits achieved by all utility customers via nonbypassable energy efficiency charges exceed the amount paid by customers via those charges.

IV.  “Department” means the department of energy.

V.  “Energy efficiency” means the process of achieving more work or other useful output per unit of energy consumed.

VI.  “Energy efficiency resource standard” means a requirement that the public utilities covered by this chapter jointly investigate and implement all cost effective energy efficiency and, in furtherance thereof, propose and then achieve targets for energy savings achieved via energy efficiency.

VII.  “ISO New England” means the regional transmission organization authorized to operate the bulk power transmission system in New Hampshire and neighboring states, and overseeing wholesale transactions of electricity and related products, under the Federal Power Act.

VIII.  “Revenue decoupling” means a rate adjustment mechanism that severs the connection between a utility’s unit sales of electricity or natural gas and the utility’s revenue, such that rates are periodically adjusted up or down to account for sales fluctuations.

IX.  “Stakeholder” means a representative of any class of utility customers, a nonprofit organization whose mission is related to the achievement of energy efficiency, or a business other than a public utility involved in the research, development, implementation, or deployment of energy efficiency programs in New Hampshire.

X.  “Utility” means a public utility within the meaning of RSA 362:2 that provides electric distribution or natural gas distribution services to customers, including any rural electric cooperative regardless of whether a certificate of deregulation is on file with the commission pursuant to RSA 301:57.

374-I:3  Statewide Energy Efficiency Programs.

I.  The commission shall implement an energy efficiency resource standard by requiring each utility to develop jointly and file jointly for commission approval a triennial energy efficiency plan covering the years 2024, 2025, and 2026, and subsequent plans for each 3-year period thereafter.

374-I:4  Cost Recovery.

I.  The commission shall require utilities to avail themselves of all reasonably available sources of revenue, including but not limited to the energy efficiency fund established pursuant to RSA 125-O:23 and revenues available via wholesale energy and ancillary services markets operated by ISO New England, to cover the cost of implementing the energy efficiency resource standard.

II.  Net of any revenues acquired pursuant to paragraph I, the commission shall allow the utilities to recover the cost of implementing the energy efficiency resource standard via nonbypassable, reconciling charges as approved by the commission.  The following shall apply to such charges:

(a)  In 2024, the charges shall not exceed a kilowatt-hour charge for an electric distribution utility and a per therm charge for a natural gas distribution utility, as established by the commission.

(b)  For each calendar year thereafter, the charges shall not increase by a percentage exceeding the consumer price index plus 0.25 percentage points.

(c)  The charges authorized by this section shall be just, reasonable, and lawful as required by RSA 378.

III.  Energy efficiency charges approved under paragraph II shall include shareholder incentive payments whose purpose shall be to reward the owners of public utilities for the achievement of specific energy efficiency goals pursuant to a formula approved by the commission.

IV.  Energy efficiency charges approved under paragraph II shall not include the recovery of fixed-cost revenues that are lost by utilities as the result of energy efficiency programs operated pursuant to this chapter.  A utility may request commission approval of a revenue decoupling mechanism for the purpose of such recovery.

374-I:5  Energy Efficiency Plan Development.

I.  When developing a triennial energy efficiency plan under this chapter, utilities shall seek the input of stakeholders as provided by RSA 125-O:5-a.

II.  To facilitate the stakeholder input required by this section, the utilities shall fund, and shall be authorized by the commission to recover via the charges authorized by paragraph II, the acquisition of technical assistance by one or more qualified consultants via a contracting process to be overseen and administered by the department, provided that the cost of such technical assistance is reasonable.

III.  Any triennial energy efficiency plan developed pursuant to this section shall reserve no less than 20 percent of its budget for energy efficiency programs specifically targeted to benefit low-income utility customers.

3  New Subparagraph; Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy Board; Duties.  Amend RSA 125-O:5-a, I by inserting after subparagraph (j) the following new subparagraph:

(k)  Serve as a stakeholder advisory board pursuant to RSA 374-I:5 in order to collaborate with utilities on the development of triennial energy efficiency plans.

4  New Paragraph; Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy Board; Advisory Committee.  Amend RSA 125-O:5-a by inserting after paragraph VII the following new paragraph:

VIII.  The board may appoint an energy efficiency committee for the purpose of discharging its responsibilities under subparagraph I(k), which may consist of board members or other stakeholders as defined in RSA 374-I:2, IX, as well as representatives of public utilities subject to RSA 374-I, provided that any such committee shall tender its recommendations to the board for deliberation and vote by the board.

5  Restructuring Policy Principles; System Benefits Charges; Energy Efficiency Programs.  Amend RSA 374-F:3, VI to read as follows:

VI.  Benefits for All Consumers.  Restructuring of the electric utility industry should be implemented in a manner that benefits all consumers equitably and does not benefit one customer class to the detriment of another.  Costs should not be shifted unfairly among customers.  A nonbypassable and competitively neutral system benefits charge applied to the use of the distribution system may be used to fund public benefits related to the provision of electricity.  Such benefits, as approved by regulators, may include, but not necessarily be limited to, programs for low-income customers, [energy efficiency programs,] funding for the electric utility industry's share of commission and department expenses pursuant to RSA 363-A, support for research and development, and investments in commercialization strategies for new and beneficial technologies.  Legislative approval of the New Hampshire general court shall be required to increase the system benefits charge.  [This requirement of prior approval of the New Hampshire general court shall not apply to the energy efficiency portion of the system benefits charge if the increase is authorized by an order of the commission to implement the 3-year planning periods of the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard framework established by commission Order No. 25,932 dated August 2, 2016, ending in 2020 and 2023, or, if for purposes other than implementing the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard, is authorized by the fiscal committee of the general court; provided, however, that no less than 20 percent of the portion of the funds collected for energy efficiency shall be expended on low-income energy efficiency programs.  Energy efficiency programs should include the development of relationships with third-party lending institutions to provide opportunities for low-cost financing of energy efficiency measures to leverage available funds to the maximum extent, and shall also include funding for workforce development to minimize waiting periods for low-income energy audits and weatherization.]

6  Restructuring Policy Principles; Energy Efficiency.  RSA 374-F:3, X is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

X.  Energy Efficiency.  Restructuring should include reasonable provisions for the deployment of cost effective energy efficiency measures including those that would otherwise be lost due to market barriers, pursuant to RSA 374-I.

7  Repeal.  RSA 374-F:4, VIII(e), relative to targeted conservation, energy efficiency, and load management programs and incentives, is repealed.

8  Application.  For the remainder of calendar years 2022 and for 2023, the utilities shall continue to provide energy efficiency services under the framework approved by the commission in Order No. 25,932, dated August 2, 2016, notwithstanding any subsequent commission order to the contrary.  For the purpose of funding the programs in 2022 and 2023, the utilities shall adopt energy efficiency charges for 2022 at their 2021 levels adjusted for inflation as measured by the consumer price index plus 0.25 percentage points, and shall employ energy efficiency charges for 2023 similarly adjusted from their 2022 levels.  The utilities shall continue to operate their existing energy efficiency programs during 2022 and 2023 without further action from the commission..

9  Effective Date.

I.  Sections 1 and 2 of this act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

II.  The remainder of this act shall take effect upon its passage.