This workshop is designed to provide program managers, program implementers, utility staff and other stakeholders the information and tools they need to effectively advocate for equity-focused programs and challenge traditional barriers to cost-effectiveness. We will unpack the problem by exploring the economic concepts of social goods and positive externalities (i.e. NEBs), learning how NEBs are treated differently by various states and jurisdictions, and learning how they tie into cost-effectiveness testing. We will then explore case studies highlighting different methods utilities and stakeholders have used to overcome obstacles to cost-effectiveness for programs with large social benefits.

Workshop Leader:

Molly Podolefsky, Director, Energy, Sustainability, and Infrastructure, Guidehouse 

Molly brings considerable experience as an applied econometrician to energy efficiency and demand side management engagements. Prior to joining Guidehouse, Dr. Podolefsky earned her doctorate in Economics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with an emphasis in energy and environmental economics, focusing her research on the effectiveness of solar incentives in California. Her dissertation utilizes a cutting-edge geographic discontinuity method to quantify the effectiveness of the California Solar Initiative at incentivizing residential solar adoption. This research was published in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (JAERE) in 2015.

During her tenure at Guidehouse, Dr. Podolefsky has served as project manager for engagements both with large investor-owned utilities and smaller municipal and cooperatively owned utilities. She currently manages a multi-year contract overseeing portfolio evaluation activities for Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and other Unisource gas and electric service providers. While many of her engagements involve overseeing utility-level portfolio evaluations or impact analysis for specific residential programs, other projects involve more specialized roles. In 2015, she served as project manager for an engagement with Iowa utilities and other stakeholders in the state. Her team conducted research on NTG current and best practices, and the relative merits and applicability of different NTG methods to Iowa utilities. Dr. Podolefsky and her team facilitated dialogue and agreement between the state’s utilities, environmental groups and the Office of Consumer Advocate in planning a path forward for a new state-wide approach to NTG.

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