Province of Manitoba introduces legislation that would create new stand-alone energy efficiency agency
The Manitoba government is introducing new legislation that would establish the framework for a new, stand-alone Crown corporation outside of Manitoba Hydro to deliver demand-side management (DSM) initiatives promoting energy efficiency and conservation that would help Manitoba households and businesses reduce their energy needs and save money both now and into the future, Crown Services Minister Ron Schuler announced on March 9th.
"Our government is adopting the recommendation of the Public Utilities Board that an independent agency be created with the sole purpose of developing, administering and implementing planned targets for energy savings," said Schuler. "The proposed efficiency Manitoba act would set out the structural, reporting and operational details of a new demand-side management Crown corporation. This new agency would help Manitobans become more energy efficient, enabling our province to do its part in reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions."
The proposed agency would be known as Efficiency Manitoba and would be managed by a board of directors with support from a stakeholder advisory committee. The agency would deliver a range of efficiency programs beginning with gas and electric energy, with possible long-term expansions into areas such as water and transportation programs. The proposed transition from Manitoba Hydro to Efficiency Manitoba is estimated to take one year, the minister said.
Efficiency Manitoba would promote the efficient use of energy and develop and implement programs and services to help consumers reduce energy consumption and lower the cost to their households and businesses. In addition, its mandate would include a focus on reducing the effects of energy use on the environment including reducing greenhouse-gas emissions as part of the province's forthcoming climate and green plan.
Energy savings targets would also be included in the new legislation, at 1.5 per cent of annual domestic electricity demand and 0.75 per cent of annual domestic natural gas demand over 15 years.
The Public Utilities Board (PUB) would review three-year plans prepared by Efficiency Manitoba. These plans would include programs and services proposed to meet legislated energy savings targets, the associated costs, the involvement and consultation of stakeholders, as well as the corporation's administration/overhead costs calculated as a percentage of its overall budget.
Following this review, the PUB would recommend for, or against, the approval of the plans and associated costs, and would make publicly available the results of third-party evaluations of energy savings achieved. The board would also be able to make recommendations regarding improvements to government programs as well as suggested modifications to legislated energy saving targets.
This process and structure would ensure no conflict exists between the energy provider and the energy efficiency corporation, the minister noted.
"We are committed to doing our part to fight climate change while growing our economy. Creating an organization dedicated to energy conservation and clean growth opportunities will allow us to invest more in energy efficiency, building on Manitoba's clean, green energy advantage," said Schuler.
A copy of the November 2014 report Demand-Side Management (DSM) in Manitoba: A New Framework, prepared by Dunsky Energy Consulting, can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/sd/annual-reports/index.html.
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