Comments from Bonneville

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the RTF’s 2014 Work plan. Overall, we are in support of the allocation of funding both in the work plan as well as the staffing model. The new RTF contract staff have proven to be very successful in 2013 and we believe they are critical to the RTF accomplishing the large amount of work planned in 2014. 

The development and update of standard protocols will be critical to the region achieving energy savings, however, the process of developing these protocols has shown to be a long and complex process. For 2014, over $300,000 is allocated to the development or update of standard protocols. Given the time and resources needed to approve these protocols, we think this may be an over-allocation of budget and that funding, relative to the importance of other budget areas. To accomplish a reduced budget, we recommend the RTF should review the list of protocols to be reviewed and determine their priority against other important initiatives the RTF will take on in 2014. 

We recommended that the RTF consider adding budget and resources for the development of a simple measure database. The RTF spends a significant amount of effort developing a robust set of measures. Yet, the details on these measures are available only in separate spreadsheets. With the number of measures, measure workbooks and continuous measure changes, it is growing increasingly difficult to track and manage RTF measures through individual excel workbooks. The lack of a single-source for measure information is a barrier to utilities and consultants who want to review and use information. For example, we are aware of consultants who would like to use the RTF’s measures in potential studies, but the multiple formats is a barrier, so they use California’s DEER instead. For BPA, we spend a huge amount of staff resources to bring measures from the multiple spreadsheets into our reporting system. The RTF developing and maintaining a measure database will allow simple access to all measures for all stakeholders, ease in searching, and will ensure that users have the most up to date information available. With the number of current RTF measures, we realize that a relatively large amount of budget could be needed to scope, develop and maintain this database, but we think it’s worth it. To allocate funding to this area, we suggest transferring funding from the standard protocol categories to this new initiative. 

We also suggest that the RTF consider allocating additional funds to allow RTF staff to support some work on the 7th plan supply curves, in addition to the already allocated RTF funds. RTF contract staff have expertise in workbook development and could help develop and summarize supply curves workbooks that are transparent and easily accessible to stakeholders in the region, as well as supporting a fluid transition from the Power Plan to RTF decisions. 

Comments from Graham Parker, PNNL

Given I now have 3 boxes of ELCAP archive material in my office + several CDs of channel-level data, I wonder if $15K of RTF + council staff time is sufficient to review all the materials, create electronic files of the most important materials and to update the ELCAP data base? My recommendation is to add $10K to the ELCAP data base activity as either contract RFP or additional RTF staff time. That $10K could come from the lighting/HVAC interaction task or one or more other categories (which ones is the key question). This of course would bring the Research and Data Development to $100K. Given we are entering the early stages of the 7th Plan, an additional $10K in this area would seem to be very justifiable.

Comments from Avista

Avista is pleased to be an active participant and funder of the RTF and appreciates the demonstrated value the RTF’s efforts provide to the region, from both power planning and evaluation perspectives. The five comments below represent potential process improvements that can be considered and incorporated into the 2014 RTF work plan.

Subcommittee to RTF transitions: The progress of the RTF initiatives depends on the efficient and effective work of subcommittees consisting of RTF Voting and Corresponding members, RTF staff, and other interested participants. The goal of the subcommittee should be to provide the RTF with a complete set of recommendations based on the committee’s investigation, review, and consensus. There have been recent instances in which the subcommittees instead provides a set of unanswered questions or needed assumptions to be resolved by the full RTF. Addressing these open issues in the full RTF forum requires a restatement of the background and issues, additional considerations, and broad discussions anew. This has not appeared to be an efficient process. The commitment to insuring the subcommittee’s achievement of completed recommendations should be emphasized.

Qualitative assumptions: It continues to be clear that the RTF has a national reputation as a preeminent body of information and process relating to EM&V. For this reason, the RTF must continue to guard itself against incorporating undocumented factors or assumptions into its work product. The frequent reference to the RTF knowledge base by other bodies or organizations is significant and places a great responsibility on the RTF to insure the validity and usefulness of the results and supporting information. While the Delphi method is important and valuable based on the makeup of the RTF membership, excessive reliance on undocumented data or assumptions could tend to undermine the reputation and credibility of the RTF and its work product.

Plan for comprehensive UES review each 3 years: Recognizing the ever-changing world of energy efficiency measures, technology, and factors influencing cost effectiveness, it seems critical to have some review of the RTF suite of measures within any three year period. This is supported by the ongoing work to prioritize the measure suite and provide an intentional approach to existing measure review and updates and consideration of new measures.

Transferability and translation to utility-specific measures: The RTF should develop a process to identify the alignment of its measure descriptions, criteria, and delivery methods as they relate to actual utility program delivery. This has become a critical consideration for Washington’s IOUs as the WUTC has placed requirements to use the RTF body of work wherever possible in lieu of EM&V.
Meeting facilitation: The monthly RTF meetings are a bevy of technical interaction, details, and perspectives, generally serving to achieve the goal of conclusions and decisions. Respecting the commitment and investment made by the participants in the monthly meetings, and recognizing the limited time window available for the completion of the agenda, it seems evident that the RTF could benefit from a dedicated meeting facilitator, bearing the responsibility for time management, decision making progress, and engaged participation.