The Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) recently released its 2011 Annual Industry Report, painting the most complete picture of energy efficiency program activity available from a single source. Based on data measuring budgets, expenditures, and impacts, the report covers both gas and electric efficiency in the United States and Canada. While budgets continue to climb, the savings these efforts produce have grown commensurately.

Total budgets for 2011 reached $9.1 billion, growing 21% from $7.5 billion in 2010. Across sectors, customers saved a total of $13.3 billion off their bills, topping 2010. Actual expenditures in 2010 measured $6.5 billion. Since 2007, US and Canadian electric and gas efficiency program budgets have grown from $3.7 billion, showing continued rapid increase despite a weak economy.

"While individual program administrators face varying regulations, goals, and climates, through CEE they come together as an industry to plan binational efficiency strategies and take on joint projects such as collecting data for this Annual Industry Report," explained Ed Wisniewski, executive director of CEE. "It's impressive that budgets increase from year to year, but it's the increase in energy savings that shows how well this industry performs, and that the increased budgets are justified."

Since 2007, electric budgets have increased 144% and electric savings have increased 80%. Gas budgets increased 160%, while gas savings soared 453%. Eighty-six percent of the 2011 budgets, or $7.8 billion, is directed by CEE members.

Working with major contributors American Gas Association (AGA) and Institute for Electric Efficiency (IEE), CEE obtained data from 352 of the larger utility and nonutility administrators operating efficiency programs in 47 states, Washington, D.C., and seven Canadian provinces. Eleven percent of the 352 program administrators are either new to efficiency programs or to this survey. Budget and expenditure data by organization or by state or province are available on request, from reports@cee1.org, as are the charts seen in the report.

"America's natural gas utilities are making a major investment in the energy efficiency of buildings and appliances. In 2011, our members budgeted nearly $1.3 billion towards cost-saving programs that provide valuable tools, incentives and information to help customers understand and reduce their energy usage. By offering smart energy choices and promoting energy-saving efforts like installing tighter windows and doors and better insulation, we are helping our customers save money," said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of AGA.

"The year-over-year double-digit growth in energy savings is really impressive and confirms that the energy efficiency programs our US electric utilities administer are helping customers save energy and money. U.S. electric utilities continue to recognize the value that energy efficiency provides to their customers and budgeted $6.8 billion in 2011, a 25% increase from 2010 levels. With both turnkey and in-depth efficiency solutions to fit the needs of any customer, we expect electric utilities to continue to deliver strong and growing energy savings to households and businesses for many years to come," said Lisa Wood, executive director of IEE.

Further analysis is available in the report, "State of the Efficiency Program Industry: Budgets, Expenditures and Impacts," available to members on the CEE Forum and to others through the CEE website.