Rural Energy Savings Program: Measurement, Verification, Training and Technical Assistance, 32719-32720 [2016-12192]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 100 / Tuesday, May 24, 2016 / Notices (4) Discuss the 2016 schedule of meetings. The meeting is open to the public. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the Committee may file written statements with the Committee staff before the meeting. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should request in writing by June 2, 2016, to be scheduled on the agenda. Written comments and time requests for oral comments must be sent to Karen Kuentz, USDA Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, 35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, California 96150, or by email at kkuentz@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile to 530–543–2693. Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices or other reasonable accommodation for access to the facility or proceedings by contacting the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis. Dated: May 12, 2016. Jeff Marsolais, Forest Supervisor. [FR Doc. 2016–11942 Filed 5–23–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Rural Energy Savings Program: Measurement, Verification, Training and Technical Assistance Rural Utilities Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice of comment solicitation. AGENCY: Congress recently authorized the implementation of the Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP) in section 6407 of subtitle E of title VI of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Public Law 107–171; 116 Stat. 424). The purpose of RESP is to help rural families and small businesses achieve cost savings by providing loans to qualified consumers to implement durable cost-effective energy efficiency measures. The Rural Utilities Service (RUS or Agency) seeks public comments on carrying out paragraph (e) of section 6407 requiring RUS to establish a plan for measurement and verification of energy efficiency measures implemented and funded pursuant to sradovich on DSK3TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:24 May 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 RESP. Public comments are also invited on the additional requirement under paragraph (e) requiring RUS to develop a program to provide technical assistance and training to the employees of eligible entities carrying out the provisions of RESP. The public input requested on both these required purposes under the RESP Program will allow all affected stakeholders the opportunity to contribute to the development of agency procedures for implementing this statute. DATES: Written comments must be received by RUS no later than June 23, 2016. ADDRESSES: Submit comments, identified by docket number RUS–16– ELECTRIC–0028, by any of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery/ Hand Delivery: Thomas P. Dickson, Acting Director, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, USDA Rural Development, 1400 Independence Avenue, STOP 1522, Room 5159, Washington, DC 20250–1522. RUS will post all comments received without change, including any personal information that is included with the comment, on http:// www.regulations.gov. Comments will be available for inspection online at http:// www.regulations.gov and at the address listed above between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Titilayo Ogunyale, Senior Advisor, Office of the Administrator, Rural Utilities Service, Rural Development, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1510, Room 5136–S, Washington DC 20250–1510; Telephone: (202) 720–0736; Email: Titilayo.Ogunyale@wdc.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background RUS provides long-term financing for the purpose of furnishing and improving electric service in rural areas. Eligible purposes for RUS loans also include assisting electric borrowers to implement demand-side management, energy efficiency and energy conservation programs, and on-grid and off-grid renewable energy systems. The Agency’s traditional lending program provides RUS loans to eligible electric system borrowers. RESP differs from the Agency’s traditional lending program in that it focuses on providing loans to eligible entities that agree to provide PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 32719 consumer loans to qualified consumers for energy efficiency measures which are undertaken on the consumer side of the meter. Current RUS borrowers are traditionally well-established utilities, most frequently rural electric cooperatives with a history of participation in the RUS program. Entities eligible to borrow from RUS and relend to consumers pursuant to RESP are not restricted to electric utilities per se; entities owned or controlled by current or former RUS borrowers and those entities described in 7 CFR 1710.10 may also participate in the RESP program. For purposes of this Notice, the statute contemplates that the Secretary, acting through RUS, will (1) establish a plan for the measurement and verification of the energy efficiency activities that are undertaken pursuant to the plans implemented with RUS funds, and (2) develop a program to provide technical assistance and training to the employees of eligible entities to carry out the responsibilities associated with implementing the required implementation plans for the use of loan funds. RUS is currently determining the best method for carrying out the RESP imposed requirement for establishing such an implementation plan and for crafting the related statement of work for the potential outside contractor that will be engaged to provide support services in this endeavor. RUS is also considering how best to meet its responsibilities under the statute to develop a program to provide technical assistance and training to the employees of eligible entities. Request for Comment Stakeholder input is vital to ensure that the implementation of the RESP program measurement and verification measures and related training will be valuable, cost effective and achieve the desired results. The Agency recognizes there is a risk that the cost of measurement and verification activities exceed the savings which are intended and expected from the energy efficiency measures. Also, the Agency notes that there are a number of quality training programs already in existence and available in the industry. Accordingly, RUS poses the following questions and discussion items to guide stakeholder comments. RUS also welcomes pertinent comments that are beyond the scope of the following questions. E:\FR\FM\24MYN1.SGM 24MYN1 32720 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 100 / Tuesday, May 24, 2016 / Notices Measurement of the Results of Energy Efficiency Investments There is no standard set of energy efficiency measures that RUS proposes to finance with RESP funds. Each entity that applies for a RESP loan will have its own list of energy efficiency measures and related implementation plan. The borrower is also required to measure and verify the results it achieves. The agency requests responses and comments as follows: 1. Is it reasonable to require that the borrower collect data before and after implementation of the energy efficiency measures as part of the measurement and verification of cost savings, or, in the alternative, can a borrower rely on ‘‘deemed savings’’ for certain measures? 2. If ‘‘deemed savings’’ calculations are determined to be reasonable, where can independent resources for this information be found? Best Entity To Measure the Results of Energy Efficiency Investments 1. Is it reasonable for the Agency to rely on representations made by the borrower regarding the results it achieves? 2. What parameters should the Agency impose on self-measurement and verification activities included in a borrower’s implementation plan? sradovich on DSK3TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Form of Training Program To Be Developed and Funded as Part of the RESP Program RUS has observed that there are a myriad of programs currently available in the market to train employees of eligible entities to carry out measurement and verification functions. RUS invites comments on the best approach for RUS to take to maximize the training results achieved with limited funds. 1. RUS is considering establishing a ‘‘tuition reimbursement’’ program whereby an outside contractor administers a tuition reimbursement fund to reimburse eligible entities for the costs incurred from sending an employee to a course provided by a qualified vendor as part of a recognized certification program. Please comment on how best to structure such a ‘‘tuition reimbursement program.’’ 2. RUS is contemplating setting up a circuit rider program to provide training and technical assistance on location for energy efficiency measures. The intent is to follow the model of a comparable circuit rider program funded by RUS as part of the agency’s authorized activities in the water program. In the circuit rider program, experts visit rural water systems around the country and offer VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:24 May 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 training to employees as well as technical assistance. These visits can be requested by a client in response to special needs or are part of a regular schedule that is worked out in advance. Please comment on the pros and cons of taking this approach. Needs Specific to Manufactured Housing Many traditional RUS electric utility borrowers have an above average number of customers residing in mobile homes or prefabricated dwellings. These dwellings present unique challenges in implementing energy efficiency measures. The agency requests responses and comments on the following questions: 1. What program requirements are recommended for new manufactured housing? Is it reasonable for a Borrower to undertake a rebate program for new buyers agreeing to purchase new homes with certain upgrades? How will a borrower best verify that the upgrades are installed and producing the results as marketed? 2. With respect to pre-existing mobile homes, what measurements can be taken to produce the most cost effective energy savings for the consumer? 3. A disproportionate number of the occupants of manufactured housing are renters. The owners may not necessarily have a financial incentive to invest in more efficient heating and cooling systems, causing the occupant to suffer very high energy bills. Are there programs which have successfully addressed this problem and what are the attributes of these programs? 4. Is there a way to best incorporate consumer financing of energy efficiency measures with pre-paid billing programs? The Scope of RUS Efforts There are limited funds for implementing the provision of RESP that contemplates RUS entering into one or more contracts for measurement, verification, training or technical assistance. As an initial matter, these funds are not expected to exceed ten percent of available appropriations. As part of the Agency’s initial implementation of this portion of the statute, we anticipate that the scope of work cannot extend to all entities and all geographic areas needing these services. Accordingly, comments are invited on how to tailor the scope of the Agency’s initial pilot implementation of this requirement in light of the limited funding. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Dated: May 17, 2016. Brandon McBride, Administrator, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2016–12192 Filed 5–23–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35). Agency: U.S. Census Bureau. Title: Generic Clearance for Questionnaire Pretesting Research. OMB Control Number: 0607–0725. Form Number(s): Various. Type of Request: Regular. Number of Respondents: 5,500 respondents annually. Average Hours per Response: 1 hour. Burden Hours: 5,500 hours annually. Needs and Uses: The information collected in this program of developing and testing questionnaires will be used by staff from the Census Bureau and sponsoring agencies to evaluate and improve the quality of the data in the surveys and censuses that are ultimately conducted. Affected Public: Individuals or households, businesses or other for profit, farms. Frequency: TBD. Respondent’s Obligation: Voluntary. Legal Authority: Data collection for this project is authorized under the authorizing legislation for the questionnaire being tested. This may be Title 13, Sections 131, 141, 161, 181, 182, 193, and 301 for Census Bureau sponsored surveys, and Title 13 and 15 for surveys sponsored by other Federal agencies. We do not now know what other titles will be referenced, since we do not know what survey questionnaires will be pretested during the course of the clearance. This information collection request may be viewed at www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to OIRA_Submission@ omb.eop.gov or fax to (202) 395–5806. E:\FR\FM\24MYN1.SGM 24MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 100 (Tuesday, May 24, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 32719-32720]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-12192]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service


Rural Energy Savings Program: Measurement, Verification, Training 
and Technical Assistance

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of comment solicitation.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Congress recently authorized the implementation of the Rural 
Energy Savings Program (RESP) in section 6407 of subtitle E of title VI 
of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-
171; 116 Stat. 424). The purpose of RESP is to help rural families and 
small businesses achieve cost savings by providing loans to qualified 
consumers to implement durable cost-effective energy efficiency 
measures. The Rural Utilities Service (RUS or Agency) seeks public 
comments on carrying out paragraph (e) of section 6407 requiring RUS to 
establish a plan for measurement and verification of energy efficiency 
measures implemented and funded pursuant to RESP. Public comments are 
also invited on the additional requirement under paragraph (e) 
requiring RUS to develop a program to provide technical assistance and 
training to the employees of eligible entities carrying out the 
provisions of RESP. The public input requested on both these required 
purposes under the RESP Program will allow all affected stakeholders 
the opportunity to contribute to the development of agency procedures 
for implementing this statute.

DATES: Written comments must be received by RUS no later than June 23, 
2016.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments, identified by docket number RUS-16-
ELECTRIC-0028, by any of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments.
    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery/Hand Delivery: Thomas P. Dickson, 
Acting Director, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, USDA 
Rural Development, 1400 Independence Avenue, STOP 1522, Room 5159, 
Washington, DC 20250-1522.
    RUS will post all comments received without change, including any 
personal information that is included with the comment, on http://www.regulations.gov. Comments will be available for inspection online 
at http://www.regulations.gov and at the address listed above between 
8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Titilayo Ogunyale, Senior Advisor, 
Office of the Administrator, Rural Utilities Service, Rural 
Development, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence 
Avenue SW., STOP 1510, Room 5136-S, Washington DC 20250-1510; 
Telephone: (202) 720-0736; Email: Titilayo.Ogunyale@wdc.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    RUS provides long-term financing for the purpose of furnishing and 
improving electric service in rural areas. Eligible purposes for RUS 
loans also include assisting electric borrowers to implement demand-
side management, energy efficiency and energy conservation programs, 
and on-grid and off-grid renewable energy systems. The Agency's 
traditional lending program provides RUS loans to eligible electric 
system borrowers. RESP differs from the Agency's traditional lending 
program in that it focuses on providing loans to eligible entities that 
agree to provide consumer loans to qualified consumers for energy 
efficiency measures which are undertaken on the consumer side of the 
meter.
    Current RUS borrowers are traditionally well-established utilities, 
most frequently rural electric cooperatives with a history of 
participation in the RUS program. Entities eligible to borrow from RUS 
and relend to consumers pursuant to RESP are not restricted to electric 
utilities per se; entities owned or controlled by current or former RUS 
borrowers and those entities described in 7 CFR 1710.10 may also 
participate in the RESP program.
    For purposes of this Notice, the statute contemplates that the 
Secretary, acting through RUS, will (1) establish a plan for the 
measurement and verification of the energy efficiency activities that 
are undertaken pursuant to the plans implemented with RUS funds, and 
(2) develop a program to provide technical assistance and training to 
the employees of eligible entities to carry out the responsibilities 
associated with implementing the required implementation plans for the 
use of loan funds.
    RUS is currently determining the best method for carrying out the 
RESP imposed requirement for establishing such an implementation plan 
and for crafting the related statement of work for the potential 
outside contractor that will be engaged to provide support services in 
this endeavor. RUS is also considering how best to meet its 
responsibilities under the statute to develop a program to provide 
technical assistance and training to the employees of eligible 
entities.

Request for Comment

    Stakeholder input is vital to ensure that the implementation of the 
RESP program measurement and verification measures and related training 
will be valuable, cost effective and achieve the desired results. The 
Agency recognizes there is a risk that the cost of measurement and 
verification activities exceed the savings which are intended and 
expected from the energy efficiency measures. Also, the Agency notes 
that there are a number of quality training programs already in 
existence and available in the industry. Accordingly, RUS poses the 
following questions and discussion items to guide stakeholder comments. 
RUS also welcomes pertinent comments that are beyond the scope of the 
following questions.

[[Page 32720]]

Measurement of the Results of Energy Efficiency Investments

    There is no standard set of energy efficiency measures that RUS 
proposes to finance with RESP funds. Each entity that applies for a 
RESP loan will have its own list of energy efficiency measures and 
related implementation plan. The borrower is also required to measure 
and verify the results it achieves. The agency requests responses and 
comments as follows:
    1. Is it reasonable to require that the borrower collect data 
before and after implementation of the energy efficiency measures as 
part of the measurement and verification of cost savings, or, in the 
alternative, can a borrower rely on ``deemed savings'' for certain 
measures?
    2. If ``deemed savings'' calculations are determined to be 
reasonable, where can independent resources for this information be 
found?

Best Entity To Measure the Results of Energy Efficiency Investments

    1. Is it reasonable for the Agency to rely on representations made 
by the borrower regarding the results it achieves?
    2. What parameters should the Agency impose on self-measurement and 
verification activities included in a borrower's implementation plan?

Form of Training Program To Be Developed and Funded as Part of the RESP 
Program

    RUS has observed that there are a myriad of programs currently 
available in the market to train employees of eligible entities to 
carry out measurement and verification functions. RUS invites comments 
on the best approach for RUS to take to maximize the training results 
achieved with limited funds.
    1. RUS is considering establishing a ``tuition reimbursement'' 
program whereby an outside contractor administers a tuition 
reimbursement fund to reimburse eligible entities for the costs 
incurred from sending an employee to a course provided by a qualified 
vendor as part of a recognized certification program. Please comment on 
how best to structure such a ``tuition reimbursement program.''
    2. RUS is contemplating setting up a circuit rider program to 
provide training and technical assistance on location for energy 
efficiency measures. The intent is to follow the model of a comparable 
circuit rider program funded by RUS as part of the agency's authorized 
activities in the water program. In the circuit rider program, experts 
visit rural water systems around the country and offer training to 
employees as well as technical assistance. These visits can be 
requested by a client in response to special needs or are part of a 
regular schedule that is worked out in advance. Please comment on the 
pros and cons of taking this approach.

Needs Specific to Manufactured Housing

    Many traditional RUS electric utility borrowers have an above 
average number of customers residing in mobile homes or prefabricated 
dwellings. These dwellings present unique challenges in implementing 
energy efficiency measures. The agency requests responses and comments 
on the following questions:
    1. What program requirements are recommended for new manufactured 
housing? Is it reasonable for a Borrower to undertake a rebate program 
for new buyers agreeing to purchase new homes with certain upgrades? 
How will a borrower best verify that the upgrades are installed and 
producing the results as marketed?
    2. With respect to pre-existing mobile homes, what measurements can 
be taken to produce the most cost effective energy savings for the 
consumer?
    3. A disproportionate number of the occupants of manufactured 
housing are renters. The owners may not necessarily have a financial 
incentive to invest in more efficient heating and cooling systems, 
causing the occupant to suffer very high energy bills. Are there 
programs which have successfully addressed this problem and what are 
the attributes of these programs?
    4. Is there a way to best incorporate consumer financing of energy 
efficiency measures with pre-paid billing programs?

The Scope of RUS Efforts

    There are limited funds for implementing the provision of RESP that 
contemplates RUS entering into one or more contracts for measurement, 
verification, training or technical assistance. As an initial matter, 
these funds are not expected to exceed ten percent of available 
appropriations. As part of the Agency's initial implementation of this 
portion of the statute, we anticipate that the scope of work cannot 
extend to all entities and all geographic areas needing these services. 
Accordingly, comments are invited on how to tailor the scope of the 
Agency's initial pilot implementation of this requirement in light of 
the limited funding.

    Dated: May 17, 2016.
Brandon McBride,
Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-12192 Filed 5-23-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE P