Wisconsin Focus on Energy

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Program Summary:

Focus on Energy is Wisconsin’s state-wide energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. It runs programs for utilities that serve 98% of state’s electric and natural gas load. Wisconsin has over 100 separate electric and natural gas utilities, including investor-owned, municipal, and rural cooperative utilities, that collect fees from customers to fund Focus on Energy.

Electricity and natural gas savings targets are set by the Public Service Commission (PSC) though recently have been capped by the state legislature at 0.75% and 0.50 per year respectively.  Focus on Energy is operated by a contracted third party administrator and serves all customer types. Its structure and offerings have evolved over the years in response to changing goals, customer needs and political realities.

From its start, Focus on Energy has targeted specific energy-intensive industries such as food processors, pulp & paper mills, and plastic part manufacturers with technical and financial assistance. More recently large industrial customers have been allowed, with PSC approval, to fund and implement their own energy savings projects.

Program information

Program Type:
Resource Acquisition
Target Group - Size:
Any Size
Target Group - Industry Focus:
Cross Sectoral
Target Group - Description:

The industrial sector represents about a third of the 70 billion kWh of electricity and the 333 BBtu of natural gas consumed annually within the state.

in operation
GHG emission source covered:
Natural Gas

Consolidate all of the state’s utility managed energy efficiency programs into one more efficient state-wide program. Acquire greater volume of energy efficiency and renewable energy resources and provide low-income assistance through weatherization and other programs.

Program Funding Source:

Surcharge on consumer electric and natural gas bills

Total Program Funding:

$92.2 million (2010)

Implementation details

Operating Mechanism:

The Wisconsin state’s utilities assess a Public Benefit Fund (PBF) through energy bills paid by all electric customers. The fee is a fixed (non-volumetric) amount that is determined by customer class. The utilities pass these funds to the State-wide Energy Efficiency and Renewable Administration (SEERA), a panel created by all the participating utilities, and comprised of utility and government representatives. It contracts the program administrator to oversee Focus on Energy’s state-wide programs. The fees are dispersed to Focus on Energy, which in turn provides energy efficiency resource acquiring programs.  Shaw Environmental currently manages the administration of funds and the delivery of services is handled by the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Both companies won competitive solicitations for their respective responsibilities.

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) adopted an energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) with four-year goals. Focus on Energy is responsible for achieving these goals and its performance is evaluated by the PSC. An independent evaluator is hired by SEERA to provide the PSC with objective performance information.

While FoE has not adopted standardized EnMS, it does however provide large energy users specialized energy management services from an energy professional designed to address their specific energy needs.
Program Offerings for Industry:

Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy’s large energy users program offers assistance aimed at both large and small industrial customers.

For small customers, they offer a free energy assessment with a series of prescriptive offerings either for free or at low cost.

For larger customers with over $60,000 in monthly bills, Focus on Energy has an energy management program that works with the customer. Through this collaborative relationship, the professional will help the end-user establish a continuous improvement approach to energy management that will include:

  • Establish a baseline of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs);
  • Develop an Energy Management Plan to meet the facility’s energy reduction goals; and
  • Support the development and achievement of Energy Teams
  • Technical assistance developing and implementing an energy management system.
  • Staffing grants are available to pay for staff time to implement energy projects.

Focus on Energy has a successful program targeting specific industries such as food processors, pulp & paper makers, and plastics manufacturers. By working closely with each industry, Focus on Energy was able to offer process-specific expertise and build a relationship with the consumer. Program staff work with facilities to identify projects and negotiate the amount of incentive needed to initiate a project.

Supervising Entity:
Wisconsin Public Service Commission
Implementing Entity:
Shaw Environmental
Implementing Entity Type:
Private Non-profit organization
M&V requirements on industry:

FoE contractor KEMA analyses FOE energy efficiency project results from a sample of customers and then extrapolates that data to the broader population. The type of analysis varies depending up the size and nature of a project.  For larger custom energy saving projects that account for a significant portion of total savings, a detailed engineering review is performed that includes evaluating energy usage data, program documentation, and customer interviews by an energy engineer. To determine energy savings for smaller projects, a computer aided telephone interview is used to collect information on installation measures and program attribution. For a majority of smaller projects, deemed savings are assumed. In other words, a predetermined amount or ratio of energy savings is assumed based on the number and size of projects. Deemed savings for common projects such as boiler controls, steam traps, lighting measures.

Evaluation of Program:
As part of the Focus on Energy program, the State-wide Energy Efficiency and Renewable Administration (SEERA) also hires an M&V contractor to evaluate the program. The contractor conducts an analysis of program impacts every year to submit to the PSC. They analyse several types of savings: • Gross reported savings: Unverified savings reported by the administrator • Verified net savings: Evaluated by third party and adjusted for free riders • Lifecycle savings: Verified savings (either gross or net) that incorporate measure life • Lifetime savings: Verified savings (either gross or net) that are still active • Persistent savings: Lifecycle impacts that fade out energy savings past the measure life

Program flow chart

Program Flow Chart

Wisconsin flowchart.png

Impacts and Results

Annual incremental saving of 306 GWH electricity and 9.7 million therms of natural gas (2010)
Analytic base for target (or target setting mechanism):

In 2010, the PSC adopted the state’s first energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) with a four-year goal that is designed to coincide with a quadrennial review of state energy planning.

The electricity targets were initially set to ramp up from 0.75% to 1.5% per year of total consumption and peak demand.

Natural gas targets were set to ramp up from 0.5% to 1.0% per year. The PSC approved increased funding to meet these goals.  However, in 2011, the state legislature passed a law limiting Focus on Energy to 1.2% of utility revenues. This led the PSC to revise the EERS goals down to 0.75% per year and 0.5% per year for electricity and natural gas respectively.

Savings (recent year):
355 GWH electricity, 11.7 million therms of natural gas (2010)
Savings (program total):
Not reported
Savings (share of overall demand):
Not reported
Average unit cost of energy saved:

Not reported

Non-energy benefits (co-benefits):

Not reported

Other useful information