Status of Various Electric Energy Conservation Programs, Activities, and Powerplant Capacities in the United States

RCED-83-193: Published: Sep 19, 1983. Publicly Released: Oct 5, 1983.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the status of electric energy-related efficiency improvement programs and other electric-related activities nationwide.

GAO found that Federal conservation programs are in various stages of implementation. Of the 14 programs reviewed, 6 are fully implemented, 6 are partially implemented, and the status of the other 2 could not be determined. The contribution of Federal programs to improving the efficiency of the Nation's electrical energy use is uncertain. State-funded energy conservation programs exist in 14 of the 43 states responding to a GAO survey, and some of the State programs are similar to the Federal energy conservation programs. GAO determined that the kinds of programs most often promoted by utilities are those which provide energy audits of buildings to determine ways of reducing energy costs, financial assistance such as low- or no-cost loans to encourage installation of energy-saving devices, and energy-saving materials at no or low cost. It is difficult to measure the effect of these programs in terms of reducing energy use because utilities do not monitor program results. GAO found that the energy services industry seems to exist to the extent that it can currently meet customer demands for energy efficiency improvements. While there is no single, comprehensive measure of powerplant performance, indications are that it is declining. Most of the decline is due to an increased amount of capacity with no corresponding increase in demand. This means that some capacity is not used as much, since it is not needed.

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