RTF Technical Support Needs Study for Small and Rural Utilities
Part I: Introductions and Interview Purpose
Ecotope is working on behalf of the Regional Technical Forum (RTF) to determine what technical
assistance the RTF, in coordination with the Bonneville Power Administration (Bonneville) and the
Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), can offer small and rural utilities to tailor their
conservation initiatives to meet the unique circumstances of their service territories.
The interview will take approximately 90 minutes. Is this amount of time ok?
The interview will focus on measures that your utility is currently implementing and measures that your
utility would like to implement but can’t due to a technical, infrastructure, or delivery constraint. We will
also discuss some of the characteristics of your conservation programs, including number of FTE staff,
incentives paid for various measures, and any conservation efforts not reported in the PTR system.
We are also interested in finding out about any successes or challenges that your utility has experienced
implementing its conservation programs.
For documentation purposes, we would like to record the interview. Do you mind if I record the
<proceed to main interview sections>
Ecotope, Inc. 1
Part II: Review of Claimed Measures (Current Conservation Outcomes)
1) Which conservation measures do you implement? How often do you implement them?
Measure Frequently Occasionally Rarely Never
2) Which types of conservation delivery methods do you implement? How often do you implement
Measure Classification: Frequently Occasionally Rarely Never
3 party Programs
NEEA Programs (e.g.,
BPA Delivered Programs
3) Which kinds of savings estimations do you report in the PTR? How often do you report each?
Savings Estimation Frequently Occasionally Rarely Never
Ecotope, Inc. 2
2) Where do you find it easiest to implement savings?
Easy Neutral Difficult Not applicable
3) What were the total incentives paid in each sector in 2010?
4) How do you set the incentives for these measures? (pass along BPA credit, assign a blanket
amount or across the board figure, prorate/calculate in any way….)
5) Have you implemented any conservation measures that you did not report to the PTR for 2010?
If so, which measures?
6) How would you prioritize the importance of the following criteria in evaluating potential
conservation measures (with 1 being the highest priority and 4 being the lowest priority)?
Priority: 1 2 3 4
Ease of implementation,-
Magnitude of kWh
Customer demand for
Ecotope, Inc. 3
Support from outside
Economy of scale,-
capacity in customer
Part III: Staffing Details
First, some general background:
1) How many employees do you have at your utility?
2) How many full time equivalent staff are assigned to your conservation programs? How much
time do they spend on conservation? What are their other duties?
Now I’d like to ask about the resources you employ to implement conservation measures.
3) Do you have access to the following resources when implementing Conservation Measures?
Resource: Always Sometimes Rarely Never
Knowledge of Measures
Peer assistance from
Support from Utility
Associations or pools
Third party providers
Ecotope, Inc. 4
Regional circuit riders
Relationships with retail
4) Do you work with any contractors to implement conservation measures?
5) Which of these organizations do you work with on conservation programs? How helpful are
Organization: Very Helpful Somewhat Not Helpful Do not Work
RTF (Regional technical
PNGC (Pacific Northwest
IDEA (Idaho Energy
NEEA (Northwest Energy
NRECA (National Rural
BPA (Bonneville Power
Ecotope, Inc. 5
Part IV: Review of Potential Measures (Desired Conservation Outcomes)
Now I’d like to ask about conservation measures that you would like to implement, but can’t due to a
1) Are there existing measures you believe could be improved to increase their usability? If so,
2) Do others in your utility know of existing measures that could be improved to increase their
usability? If so, please describe.
3) Are your aware of conservation measures which you cannot implement due to barriers? What
are these measures and what are the barriers?
List and describe technical based constraints:
Measures never deemed
M&V protocols too complex or costly to carry out
Measures were presented to RTF but denied deeming and reasons (not cost-effective, lack
of data, etc.)
Measure language/appropriateness is difficult to interpret
Measure requires information that the utility cannot provide/is too time intensive to gather
Technical demands to accomplish measures are too great for the utility
List and describe infrastructure and delivery constraints:
Absence of BPA incentive
Absence of utility funded incentive
Lack of management support
Program/measure too staff intensive
Insufficient time to design program
Lack of local trade allies
4) Are you aware of energy conservation efforts taking place in your utility service territory that
you are not claiming? What measures?
Ecotope, Inc. 6
5) Which of the below limit your ability to implement measures?
Regional Constraint: Frequently Sometimes Rarely Never
It is not possible to
the measure due to your
BPA determination that
a specific measure is not
applicable to your region
(list and give reason)
Lack of measures that
customers wish to
Insufficient resources of
customers to implement
measures (time, money,
Resources of utility to
Lack of measures
appropriate to the
Ease of access to support
Insufficient customers to
create a market for
Physical remoteness of
Ecotope, Inc. 7
Part VI: Closing Comments
1) What support from the BPA would have the most impact on your utility’s ability to increase
2) What support from NEEA would have the most impact on your utility’s ability to increase energy
3) What support from the RTF would have the most impact on your utility’s ability to increase
4) Is there any other feedback you would like to share with the RTF, Bonneville, or NEEA regarding
conservation program support for your utility?
Ecotope, Inc. 8