Natural Gas Utilities Invest Billions in Energy Efficiency, Driving Progress 

  • Miles Vondra
  • Natural gas utilities remain at the forefront of sustainability by spearheading initiatives to reshape how we use and think about energy. Since 2007, AGA has partnered with industry partners at the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) to survey utility member companies about their energy efficiency programs designed to reduce energy consumption, optimize energy use, and promote sustainable practices among users. The transformative work underway in the energy industry is captured in a detailed report that underscores the substantial advancements, innovative approaches, and remarkable savings achieved by gas utility companies, reinforcing their pivotal role in crafting a cleaner and more sustainable future for all. Gas utility energy efficiency programs encompass a range of strategies, including the implementation of advanced technologies, promotion of energy-saving practices, and provision of incentives such as rebates and discounts to encourage the adoption of energy-efficient appliances and systems dedicating to reducing both emissions and customer bills. 

    This year’s survey found that 79 natural gas utilities collectively spent almost $1.6 billion on energy efficiency programs in 2020; a 391 percent increase in spending compared to 2007. This spending resulted in total savings of at least 325 million therms of energy in 2020 alone. That’s 1.7 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of driving 4.6 billion miles. 

    The 2020 AGA Energy Efficiency Report highlights the myriad of innovative strategies natural gas utilities use to promote energy efficiency, including cash rebates, financial incentives, strategic partnerships, and education campaigns. Utilities employ various strategies depending on the needs and desires of the people they serve. To better address the needs of the low-income customer class, 75 percent of our responding member companies have undertaken education initiatives like financial literacy classes. Eighty nine percent offered direct impact programs such as appliance replacements and optimization for low-income residences using various tools such as rebates for the low-income customer class. These programs have shown remarkable success, helping reduce individual gas consumption by 20 percent since 2000. 

    AGA members are committed to leading on, and investing, in innovative energy-saving technologies and initiatives, accelerating the development and implementation of energy-efficient practices. This commitment will play a crucial role in shaping a sustainable energy future. The substantial reduction in CO2 emissions achieved through these programs further underscores the value of natural gas in helping our nation achieve its energy and environmental goals.