New Hampshire's 1996 electric-industry restructuring legislation authorized the creation of a system benefits charge (SBC) to support energy efficiency programs and energy assistance programs for low-income residents. The total SBC is 3.3 mills per kilowatt-hour ($0.0033/kWh) and has not been increased since 2001. The energy efficiency component of the charge is 1.8 mills per kilowatt-hour ($0.0018/kWh) on electric bills. The low-income energy assistance portion is 1.5 mills per kWh ($0.0015/kWh). The SBC charge for a residential customer using 650 kWh per month is $2.15 per month.
In addition, New Hampshire enacted legislation (H.B. 1490) in June 2012 converting the state's greenhouse gas emissions fund into an energy efficiency fund. As a result, certain proceeds received by the state from emissions auction proceeds will be allocated as an additional source of funding to electric distribution companies for core energy efficiency programs that are funded by SBC funds.
The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved several core energy efficiency programs that receive SBC funding. All efficiency programs are administered by the state's utilities, with oversight from the PUC. About $28.2 million was collected for 2014 core energy efficiency programs through the SBC, the ISO New England Forward Capacity Market auction, and greenhouse gas emissions auction proceeds.
Commercial programs funded by the SBC generally support new construction and major renovations, lighting upgrades, occupancy sensors, controls, air conditioning improvements, programmable thermostats, efficient motors, variable-frequency drives, energy-management systems, LED traffic lights, and custom projects. Residential programs funded by the SBC support Energy Star lighting and appliances, Energy Star new home construction, insulation, thermostats, and other efficiency measures. SBC programs for qualified low-income residents provide funding for insulation, thermostats, lighting upgrades, and efficient refrigerators.
The PUC reports the results and effectiveness of the SBC annually to the state’s Legislative Oversight Committee on Electric Restructuring. These annual reports are available on the PUC's web site, and the latest report from October 2014 can be found here.