Local Government Energy Reporting FAQ

Local governments throughout Texas are setting ambitious and measurable energy management goals yet few are meeting mandated reduction and reporting requirements.  We have created the 9 section guide below to provided technical assistance, answer questions, and remove confusion  for the 41 Texas counties are currently identified as “affected” by the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan.

 

General Reporting Questions 

What is Local Government and State Agency Energy Reporting?

The Texas Health and Safety Code §388.005 requires political subdivisions, institutions of higher education, and state agencies in a non-attainment area or an affected county to

  • establish a goal to reduce the entity’s electricity consumption by at least 5 percent annually for 7 years, beginning Sept. 1, 2019; (HSC §388.005(c))
  • report to the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) on forms provided by that office regarding the entity’s goal, the entity’s efforts to meet the goal, and the progress the entity has made (HSC §388.005(e))

The “Local Government / State Agency Energy Report” is the form developed by SECO, required to be submitted by affected political subdivisions to comply with HSC §388.005(e). The Local Government / State Agency Energy Report must be submitted annually to SECO by affected political subdivisions. The report is submitted online via the SECO website.

Why does the state mandate Local Government / State Agency Energy Reporting?

The efficiency and reporting requirements established in Texas Health and Safety Code §388.005 are part of the State’s effort to reduce air pollution associated with electricity generation. 41 Texas counties are currently identified as “affected” by the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (30 TAC 114.629). Political subdivisions in these counties are eligible to receive TERP funding and resources to support air quality improvement initiatives and are subject to mandated efficiency and reporting requirements.

I’ve never heard of Local Government / State Agency Energy Reporting. Is this a new requirement?

No, local government energy efficiency and reporting requirements were established by the 77th legislature in 2001. Subsequent legislatures have updated, amended, and reauthorized the requirements since 2001. The 86th Texas legislature (2019) recently reauthorized and extended local government efficiency and reporting requirements through 2026 with Senate Bill 241.

Who is required to report?

The reporting requirements apply to each political subdivision, the institution of higher education, and state agency facility located in the 41 “affected counties” in Texas. A “political subdivision” is defined as “an affected county; or (B) any political subdivision in a nonattainment area or in an affected county other than (i)  a school district; or (ii)  a district as defined by Section 36.001 or 49.001, Water Code, that had a total annual electricity expense of less than $200,000 in the previous fiscal year of the district.”

The 41 affected counties, as established by Texas Administrative Code, Title 30, §114.629, are:

  1. Bastrop
  2. Bexar
  3. Brazoria
  4. Caldwell
  5. Chambers
  6. Collin
  7. Comal
  8. Dallas
  9. Denton
  10. El Paso
  11. Ellis
  12. Fort Bend
  13. Galveston
  14. Gregg
  15. Guadalupe
  16. Hardin
  17. Harris
  18. Harrison
  19. Hays
  20. Henderson
  21. Hood
  22. Hunt
  23. Jefferson
  24. Johnson
  25. Kaufman
  26. Liberty
  27. Montgomery
  28. Nueces
  29. Orange
  30. Parker
  31. Rockwall
  32. Rusk
  33. San Patricio
  34. Smith
  35. Tarrant
  36. Travis
  37. Upshur
  38. Waller
  39. Williamson
  40. Wilson
  41. Wise

When is the report Due?

Local Government / State Agency Energy Reports are due February 1 of the following year. For example, the report on electricity consumption and efficiency in the calendar year 2020 is due February 1, 2021.

What time period does the report cover?

Reports should reflect the 12 months of the preceding year. State agencies and higher education institutions should report data on a fiscal year basis (September – August), and city and county governments should report data on a calendar year basis (January – December). Since billing cycles may not break “cleanly” across a calendar month, it is acceptable for consumption data to be based on utility billing months of the previous year.

My political subdivision is very small and consumes very little electricity. Do we have to report?

Yes, there is no minimum size requirement in Texas Health and Safety Code §388.005, and the statute applies to all political subdivisions in an affected county. Please report electricity consumption data for any end uses of electricity that the political subdivision pays for and controls.

As a small organization, you may have “completed all cost-effective measures to reduce electricity consumption, as determined by the parameters of Local Government Code 302.004(b),” in which case, you may qualify for an exemption from the 5% reduction in electricity consumption requirement.

To claim an exemption, your organization must:

  1. Have submitted the local government energy report for the previous calendar year; and
  2. Have fallen short of the 5% reduction in electricity consumption relative to the previous calendar year; and
  3. Completed an assessment within the last 12 months that all cost-effective measures to reduce electricity consumption have already been implemented. Cost-effectiveness should be determined according to Local Government Code 302.004(b) parameters.

What is required to be reported?

Sections 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 9 and portions of Section 4 of the Local Government / State Agency Energy Report must be completed by all reporting entities. Section 5: Renewable Energy Data is optional.

I have general questions or require additional assistance.

Additional assistance for Local Government / State Agency Energy Reporting is available from SECO’s community partners:

What is the definition of “cost-effective measures to reduce electricity consumption”?

Texas Health and Safety Code §388.005(b) states, “Each political subdivision, the institution of higher education, or state agency shall implement all energy efficiency measures that meet the standards established for a contract for energy conservation measures under Section 302.004(b), Local Government Code, to reduce electricity consumption by the existing facilities of the entity.”

Local Government Code §302.004 is understood to stipulate that energy conservation measures shall result in energy and water cost savings, achieved during the lesser of 20 years from the final date of installation or the average useful life of the energy conservation measures that are equal to or greater than the cost of the energy conservation measure plus any financing costs. In other words, the energy conservation measure should pay for itself within its useful life of 20 years.

Can I access my Local Government / State Agency Energy Reports from previous years?

All Local Government / State Agency Energy Reports can be found on the SECO website with the ability to download the Energy Consumption Reporting Dashboard.

If you did not receive this email or would like to access reports from years before 2019, please contact the following contacts (depending on your geographic region):

Section 1: Reporting Entity Information

Who should be identified in the contact information?

That is up to the political subdivision. The point of contact should be a person who is responsible for coordinating annual Local Government / State Agency Energy Reporting. The point of contact may be staff of the political subdivision or a third-party representative identified by the political subdivision. The point of contact does not necessarily have to have direct familiarity with the political subdivision’s electricity consumption or consumption reduction goals. Still, it should be familiar enough with the requirements of Texas Health and Safety Code §388.005 to coordinate data collection and reporting. Since reporting is done annually, best practices are for the reporting point of contact to be a permanent staff position (rather than a temporary employee) and to document entity reporting procedures to ensure reporting continuity and avoid confusion in the case of staff turnover.

Section 2: Reduction Goal

Does my political subdivision’s electricity consumption reduction goal have to be formally adopted by its governing body?

Texas Health and Safety Code §388.005 requires “each political subdivision, the institution of higher education, or state agency shall establish a goal to reduce the electric consumption by the entity by at least five percent each state fiscal year for seven years, beginning September 1, 2019.” It is recommended that the goal is formally adopted through an ordinance by the governing body of the reporting political subdivision. Official adoption helps ensure that leadership and decision-makers of the political subdivision support electricity consumption reduction goals. However, unofficial or departmental goals are acceptable compliance options to meet the requirements of Texas Health and Safety Code §388.005.

What if my political subdivision does not have an electricity consumption reduction goal?

Political subdivisions that have not established any official or unofficial goal to reduce electricity consumption by at least five percent each state fiscal year for seven years beginning September 1, 2019, should respond “No” to the question in Section 2 of the Local Government / State Agency Energy Report. The political subdivision should establish a goal before the next annual Local Government / State Agency Energy Reporting deadline to comply with Texas Health and Safety Code §388.005.

My political subdivision has established an electricity consumption reduction goal but did not achieve a 5 percent reduction from our previous year's consumption. How do I respond to Section 2?

If a goal is established, respond “yes” to the question in Section 2 of the Local Government / State Agency Energy Report, regardless of the total electricity consumption reduction achieved during the calendar year. Complete Section 9 of the form with details of the entity’s goal, the entity’s efforts to meet the goal, and the progress the entity has made in achieving a reduction goal.

Section 3: Calendar Year of Report

What period should the report cover?

Local Government and County reports should cover data from each calendar year. Reports should be submitted to reflect consumption from January – December of the preceding calendar year.  Since billing cycles may not break “cleanly” across a calendar month, it is acceptable for consumption to be based on bills dated January – December of the previous calendar year.

State agencies and high education institutions should continue to report data on the State fiscal year.

Section 4: Consumption Data

Required Electricity Consumption Reporting

What should electricity consumption be included in the reported consumption data?

Report any and all electricity consumption for which the subdivision pays the utility bill and controls electricity use. The subdivision controls electricity use if it determines when the building is in use and can turn lighting, HVAC, or other systems on and off.

What electricity end-uses should I include in each category?

Buildings

  • All electricity consumption is associated with the operation and supporting functions of buildings or portions of buildings.
  • Site and parking lot lighting associated with a building meter
  • Sport and park lighting associated with a building meter
  • Consumption from electric vehicle charging stations that cannot be isolated from building meter

Traffic Lights

  • Report electricity consumption for traffic lights owned only by the political subdivision

Street Lights

  • Report electricity consumption for streetlights owned only by the political subdivision. If streetlights are utility-owned, do not include them in the report.

Potable Water Facilities

  • Report all electricity consumption associated with pumping and treating water for potable water supplies owned and/or controlled by the reporting political subdivision. Electricity consumed in offices or support buildings at potable water facilities should be included in the building’s consumption total.

Wastewater Treatment Plants

  • Report electricity consumption associated with pumping and treating wastewater owned and controlled by the reporting subdivision. Electricity consumed in offices or support buildings at potable water facilities should be included in the building’s consumption total.

Electric Vehicles (EVs)

  • The form does not require reporting electricity consumed by battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, only the numbers of vehicles owned by the political subdivision.

EV Charging Stations

  • Report electricity consumed by electric vehicle charging stations paid for by the political subdivision and are sub-metered or on a separate meter from a building meter.

Other

  • Airport runway lighting
  • Electricity consumed by renters of camping and RV sites owned/operated by a political subdivision
  • Sport and park lighting not associated with a building meter

Note: The electricity consumption for all non-building end-use categories should be combined with total buildings consumption and entered in total electricity consumption kWh.

My political subdivision does not own our buildings and rents out some portions of our buildings to other entities. How do I report our electricity consumption?

Report all electricity for which the subdivision pays the utility bill and controls the use of the electricity. If the political subdivision rents or leases building space and pays the electricity bill, including electricity consumption for that space. If the subdivision leases space out to a tenant and pays the electricity bill, do not include electricity consumption for that leased-out space. If the subdivision pays the bill on behalf of the tenant and charges the tenant back for utility costs, do not include electricity consumption for that leased-out space.

What if my political subdivision cannot eliminate electricity use by end use for buildings, traffic lights, streetlights, potable water facilities, wastewater treatment plants, electric vehicles, or electric vehicle charging stations?

It’s ok! Every political subdivision is different, and utilities are set up and billed in many different ways. Focus on determining the total electricity consumption and isolating electricity consumption and square footage of buildings, as these numbers are significant in calculating the overall air pollution reduction associated with Local Government / State Agency Reporting. If other end uses of electricity cannot be determined or isolated, combine the electricity consumption for all non-building end-use categories and the building’s kWh consumption and enter the sum in total electricity consumption (kWh).  Provide a narrative explanation of circumstances in Section 8 of the report.

My political subdivision owns facilities in multiple counties; some are on the affected county list, and others are not. What do I report?

If your facilities are located in multiple counties, only report electricity and other consumption data and efficiency efforts for the facilities within the 41 affected counties.

Where can I find my electricity consumption data?

The source of electricity consumption data depends on your location in Texas and your utility provider. There are many ways to access annual energy consumption information without manually consolidating data from utility bills. Calling the customer service number on your electricity bill might be your best first step. Below are possible sources for utility data.

Smart Meter Texas

Smart Meter Texas is a web portal that provides users access to daily, monthly, and 15-minute interval data recorded by smart meters in competitive retail areas of Texas. These areas include regions served by AEP Texas Central Company, AEP Texas North Company, CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC, Oncor Electric Delivery Company, LLC, or Texas-New Mexico Power Company. See the map of regions served by these utilities.

Retail Energy Providers (REPs)

Your retail energy provider (REP) should be able to provide you with your electricity consumption data for any accounts served by that provider. Many REPs also have web-based portals to access utility data. There are hundreds of REPs operating in Texas, and contacting the customer service identified on your electric bill is an excellent first step to accessing energy data from your REP.

Transmission and Distribution Utilities (TDUs)

In addition to Smart Meter Texas, some TDUs in competitive retail areas of Texas operate their web portals to access utility data online.

Other utilities operating in Texas

Much of the state is served by municipally-owned utilities, electric cooperatives, or other non-competitive utilities. Similar to competitive retail areas, these utilities are a good source of electricity consumption data. Contacting the customer service number on your utility bill or checking your provider’s website for an online data portal is an excellent first step to accessing your utility data.

Third-Party Service Providers and Energy Services Companies (ESCOs)

Suppose your public subdivision engages a third party to assist with electricity supply contracts, energy efficiency improvements, load management, or other energy-related services. In that case, those service providers may be able to assist with Local Government / State Agency Energy Reporting. Contact your service provider to find out if services are available to assist with data collection and reporting. Some companies may help consolidate energy data for reporting free of charge.

Optional Natural Gas and Water Consumption Reporting

Why is optional reporting of natural gas and water included in the Local Government/State Agency Energy Report?

Tracking and analyzing natural gas and water consumption data gives a political subdivision a complete picture of energy consumption and efficiency opportunities. If a political subdivision wants to compare energy consumption across facilities, it is essential to account for all energy consumption, not only electricity. The Local Government / State Agency Energy Reporting form offers an optional field to report natural gas and water consumption as an annual record of gas and water efficiency efforts.

Section 5: Renewable Energy Data (optional)

Why is optional reporting of renewable energy data included in the Local Government/State Agency Energy Report?

Political subdivisions are increasingly installing renewable energy generation (solar photovoltaic, wind turbines, biomass, and geothermal) on facilities or purchasing renewable energy through their utility providers or a third party. While the Texas Health and Safety Code §388.005 only mandates a reduction of electricity consumption, renewable energy can be an essential strategy to reduce a political subdivision’s air quality impact. The Local Government / State Agency Energy Reporting form offers an optional field to report renewable energy data as an annual record of these efforts.
My political subdivision purchases renewable energy credits (RECs) or Carbon Offsets; should I include these in my reporting?

The renewable energy data reported should only include renewable energy purchases that result in additional generation added to the energy system. If your political subdivision’s RECs or carbon offsets are associated with adding a new generation, they should be included in the report.

What sources of renewable energy should I include?

Only report renewable energy generation owned by the political subdivision or purchased by the political subdivision directly. Although renewable energy sources partially generate the electricity provided by the grid, the report is looking for renewable energy generated in addition to the existing generation provided by the grid. 

Section 6: Use and Interest in SECO Assistance Resources

Where can I find more information about SECO assistance programs?

More information and applications are available on the SECO website. Program-specific links and information are below:

I have participated in a SECO assistance program in the past. Can I use the resources again?

There is no limit to participation in Preliminary Energy Assessments, Technical Assistance, or the City Efficiency Leadership Council. LoanSTAR loans are capped at three applications per year per entity for a total loan size of $8 Million each ($24 Million total).

Section 7: Areas of Improvement & Resources

What are the areas of improvement?
  • HVAC Equipment:

Upgrades air conditioning, heating, or ventilation equipment, including chillers, rooftop units, fans, pumps, ducts, or other components, to improve energy consumption and efficiency.

  • Sensors/Controls:

Install sensors or controls to optimize the function of HVAC, lighting, or another energy-using system.

  • Building Energy Management System (EMS) or other automation:

Automated system to manage and optimize the function of whole building energy using systems.

  • Plug Load (appliances, computers, etc.):

Use energy-efficient equipment (such as ENERGY STAR-rated computers and appliances) and controls to reduce the electricity use of plug-in devices.

  • Indoor Lighting:

Replacement of interior lighting lamps and fixtures with energy-efficient LED lighting.

  • Outdoor Lighting:

Replacement of exterior lighting lamps and fixtures to energy-efficient LED lighting (not including street or traffic lighting).

  • Streetlighting:

Replacement of street light lamps and fixtures with energy-efficient LED lighting.

  • Water Heating/Boiler:

Replace water heating systems (gas or electric) with more energy-efficient equipment.

  • Building Envelope – Glazing:

Replacement, repair, or sealing of building windows

  • Building Envelope – Window Film:

Installation of after-market film on building windows to improve thermal performance.

  • Building Envelope – Insulation/Radiant Barrier:

Repair, replace, or install insulation in the building envelope to improve the thermal performance of walls, roofs, or floors.

  • Building Envelope – Cool Roof:

Installation of roofing material designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof.

  • Water/Wastewater – Pumps:

Installation of water conveyance pumps with higher efficiency pumps

  • Water/Wastewater – Leaks:

Identify and repair water supply and wastewater systems leaks to reduce water loss and waste.

  • Combined Heat and Power or Other Co-Generation:

Construction of a facility that concurrently produces electricity or mechanical power and useful thermal energy (heating and cooling) from a single energy source. Cogeneration is often located at or near the point of consumption.

  • New Construction or Other Renovation:

Construction of new buildings or facilities. New facilities are generally more energy efficient than older buildings.

  • Energy Storage:

Install thermal or battery storage facilities for energy resilience to facilitate energy generation from renewable energy sources or generated during off-peak hours.

  • On-Site Renewable Energy Generation:

Installation of solar photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, biomass, or geothermal systems on land owned or operated by the political subdivision located on or near the site of the building consuming the energy.

  • Off-Site Renewable Energy Contract or Renewable Energy Credits (RECs):

The purchase of energy generated by renewable energy sources not located near the building consumes energy.

  • Benchmarking:

Comparing the energy performance of facilities to each other, peers, and competitors, and prioritizing which facilities to focus on for improvements over time.

  • Utility Data Tracking:

Consolidating energy and water consumption and cost information into a centralized spreadsheet, database, or software to evaluate data for energy and water savings opportunities.

  • Energy Policy/Plan/Program Development:

An energy policy, plan, or program may include adopting energy management best practices and goals through resolution, ordinance, or internal departmental standard operating procedures. The intent is a consolidated and intentional initiative to reduce energy waste through behavior changes and energy-efficient equipment and technology.

  • Water Conservation Policy/Program Development:

A water conservation policy, plan, or program may include adopting water management best practices and goals through resolution, ordinance, or internal departmental standard operating procedures. The intent is a consolidated and intentional initiative to reduce water waste through behavior changes and the use of water-conserving equipment and technology.

  • Operation/Maintenance Training:

Provide building operators, and facility managers access to supplemental training to establish and reinforce best energy and water-saving practices. Examples include Building Operator Certification, manufacturer training, trade or technical schools, or training offered by the Department of Energy.

  • Conservation Behavior Training

Providing training or other encouragement to building occupants to reduce energy and water consumption through behavior changes such as turning off lights, powering computers, avoiding plug-in heaters, etc.

Section 8: Additional Feedback

My political subdivision has a particular circumstance. Where can I explain my exceptional circumstances?

Section 8 of the Local Government / State Agency Energy Report is designed to capture any detail or explanation not captured elsewhere in the form. This includes an explanation of special circumstances, details on how end uses were accounted for in Section 4, and a further description of any energy or water management initiatives of the political subdivision. Since a record of the Local Government / State Agency Energy Report will be emailed to each reporting political subdivision ahead of future year reporting deadlines; Section 8 can also be a helpful place to store notes for future reporting years.

Section 9: Progress Towards Goal

My political subdivision has filed for an exemption in the past; do I have to report it?

Yes. Since the Local Government / State Agency Energy Reporting requirements of Texas Health and Safety Code §388.005 were reauthorized by Senate Bill 241 by the 86th Legislature, 2019 electricity consumption is the new baseline for reporting. Therefore, prior exemptions are no longer active and must be re-established.

A political subdivision may apply for a new exemption on the 2021 Local Government / State Agency Energy Report or subsequent annual reports if all exemption qualification criteria have been met. See exemption qualifications below.

Do I qualify for an exemption?

To claim an exemption, your organization must:

  1. Have submitted the local government energy report for the previous calendar year; and
  2. Have fallen short of the 5% reduction in electricity consumption relative to the previous calendar year; and
  3. Completed an assessment within the last 12 months that all cost-effective measures to reduce electricity consumption have already been implemented. Cost-effectiveness should be determined according to Local Government Code 302.004(b) parameters.
How does my political subdivision request an exemption?

Your political subdivision may request an exemption if it has 1) submitted the Local Government / State Agency Energy Report the previous calendar year, 2) fallen short of the 5% reduction in electricity consumption relative to the previous baseline year, and 3) completed an assessment within the last 12 months that documents all cost-effective measures to reduce electricity consumption have already been implemented.

If requesting an exemption, check the box in Section 9 of the form, verifying that all exemption requirements have been met, and submit additional documentation to serve as justification for this exemption request in the upload box of the Local Government / State Agency Energy Report.

What is the definition of “cost-effective measures to reduce electricity consumption”?

Texas Health and Safety Code §388.005(b) states, “Each political subdivision, the institution of higher education, or state agency shall implement all energy efficiency measures that meet the standards established for a contract for energy conservation measures under Section 302.004(b), Local Government Code, to reduce electricity consumption by the existing facilities of the entity.”

Local Government Code §302.004 is understood to stipulate that energy conservation measures shall result in energy and water cost savings, achieved during the lesser of 20 years from the final date of installation or the average useful life of the energy conservation measures that are equal to or greater than the cost of the energy conservation measure plus any financing costs. In other words, the energy conservation measure should pay for itself within its useful life of 20 years.

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