Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Utility Transformation Profile?

The Profile is SEPA’s report on findings from the Utility Transformation Challenge. It provides a measure of where electric utilities—as an industry—are on their journey to a Clean and Modern grid from an objective, data-supported framework. SEPA highlights utilities that are leading in the transformation and examines the industry’s transition by exploring Four Dimensions of Utility Transformation: (1) Clean Energy Resources, (2) Corporate Leadership, (3) Modern Grid Enablement, and (4) Aligned Actions and Engagement. Using these dimensions, the report identifies the common attributes of utilities that are leading the transformation.
What is the Utility Transformation Leaderboard?

This list recognizes select utilities — Leaderboard Utilities — that have demonstrated the greatest progress toward a modern and carbon-free energy system, based on the findings of the Utility Transformation Survey. Utilities that complete the full survey are eligible for consideration.
Who is eligible to participate in the Utility Transformation Challenge?

All U.S. electric utilities are eligible, including investor-owned utilities, public power utilities and electric distribution cooperatives. For 2022, we are expanding our scope and are including utilities with electric generation, transmission, and/or distribution perspectives.
Why should my utility participate in the Utility Transformation Challenge?

The Utility Transformation Challenge offers utilities a chance to participate in a comprehensive assessment to-date of utilities’ efforts to transition to a carbon-free energy future.

By participating, utilities help SEPA deliver industry-wide information about how utilities are rising to this challenge and the unique innovations they are employing. We need your help to capture this information and want to hear from you about your efforts related to the transformation.

Participation in the Utility Transformation Challenge gives utilities of all sizes, types, and geographies a chance to be recognized for their unique role in today’s evolving energy landscape including innovation and industry leadership.

SEPA also uses responses to provide reliable and current benchmarking exclusively for participating utilities—rich information that is valuable in assessing and shaping their unique strategy to transition to a clean and modern grid.

How can my utility participate in the next Utility Transformation Challenge?

Please complete our web form to indicate your interest by May 1, 2022—as the survey closes on May 31, 2022.

Sign up to receive the survey by entering the name of a representative who will coordinate your utility’s response.

Will SEPA be providing a benchmarking report like in prior years?

Participating utilities will receive private benchmarking information providing added insight into their evaluation results beyond what is published in the Utility Transformation Profile. This report will show utility placement compared to similar utilities overall and by utility transformation dimension, identifying the utility’s areas of strength and opportunities to improve.
Is participation anonymous? Are utility responses confidential?

Yes, utility participation is anonymous and responses will be held confidential.

The Utility Transformation Profile presents industry statistics in aggregate. We will not identify individual utilities or their responses in reporting, unless the utility has expressly granted permission to do so. If a utility is selected as an industry leader for the Utility Transformation Leaderboard, we will obtain written consent before recognizing the utility.

Is the Utility Transformation Challenge data publicly available?

No. The Utility Transformation Profile report presents a large amount of aggregated data. Additional project data is not publicly available, as SEPA assures utility participants that they and the data they provide will remain anonymous, with the exception of Leaderboard Utilities.
Whom should I contact at SEPA about the Utility Transformation Challenge?

For media inquiries: Jordan Nachbar at [email protected] or (202) 559-2034.

For questions about participating: Ann Collier, Utility Transformation Survey Coordinator at [email protected] or (202) 869-4295.

Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker™

What is the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker™?

A public resource that aggregates and summarizes industry commitments to carbon reduction.
Why is the data organized this way?

The data is divided into three different maps (or tabs):  Utilities & Utility Parents, Distribution Utilities, and 100% State Requirements. Separating these different types of targets is necessary to fully understand the scope and nuances of carbon-reduction targets — including who has adopted a target, and why — within the industry.
What does the Utilities & Utility Parents map include?

This map displays carbon-reduction targets adopted by individual electric utilities (including G&Ts), as well as individual electric utilities that are subject to a state-level 100% requirement. It also displays carbon-reduction targets adopted voluntarily by parent companies of utilities that provide retail electric distribution service. A target adopted by a utility parent does not necessarily require individual utilities owned by the parent to comply with the overarching target.
What does the Distribution Utilities map include?

This map displays carbon-reduction targets adopted voluntarily by individual electric utilities, as well as individual electric utilities that are subject to a state-level 100% requirement. It does not display individual electric utilities owned by a utility parent that has adopted a voluntary carbon-reduction target (unless the individual utility is subject to a state-level 100% requirement). All utilities displayed provide retail electric distribution service.
What does the 100% State Requirements map include?

This map displays U.S. states that have established a binding 100% clean or renewable energy standard, or a binding net-zero requirement that applies to electric distribution utilities. These requirements can apply to specific utilities, to specific types of utilities, or economy-wide. Related state policy actions that are less enforceable, including executive orders and non-binding goals, are not displayed.
Where did SEPA obtain the utility service territory map data?

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Geographic Information Science & Technology group generated the boundaries of the utility service territories. However, shape files for some individual utilities are not available and therefore do not appear in the maps. In a few cases, SEPA has adjusted some utility shape files.
Does the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker classify targets that apply to public power utilities, including municipal utilities, as voluntary or mandatory?

Targets adopted by public power utilities that exceed or are independent of a 100% state requirement are classified as voluntary.
In the Distribution Utilities map, for the Voluntary/Mandatory filter, what does “Both” indicate?

This indicates that a distribution utility is subject to a 100% state requirement, but the utility also has established a voluntary goal that exceeds or supplements the 100% state requirement.
How often is the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker updated?

The SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker is a living resource that SEPA updates regularly as new information becomes available. To alert us to new or missing data, or a potential correction, please email [email protected].
Where does SEPA get the information provided in the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker?

Directly from documents published by individual utilities, utility parents and G&Ts. With around 700 member utilities, SEPA closely monitors industry developments related to carbon reduction. The information displayed in the 100% State Requirements map reflects SEPA’s best understanding of current state policy requirements that apply to electric utilities.
Why does the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker include 100% clean energy standards and 100% renewable energy standards established by states?

A 100% clean energy standard typically requires that electricity be generated by zero-carbon resources (including nuclear energy), whereas a 100% renewable energy standard (also known as a renewable portfolio standard, or RPS) requires that electricity be generated solely by renewable resources (excluding nuclear energy). Under both scenarios, electric utilities subject to the requirement must provide carbon-free electricity.
Do the requirements displayed in the 100% State Requirements map apply to all electric utilities in the state?

This varies by state. Use the “hover” function to view details on each state requirement.
Why doesn't the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker include targets or state requirements designed to achieve a portion (i.e., less than 100%) of clean or renewable energy?

Such targets and requirements typically don’t take into account potential load growth and don’t necessarily reduce overall carbon emissions.
How can I tell whether a voluntary target or 100% state requirement addresses carbon emissions specifically or GHG emissions more broadly?

Each target and requirement includes a brief summary of the actual target adopted or requirement established.
Are interim targets included?

Yes. In the downloadable CSV file, data is provided for interim targets for utilities and utility parent companies that have adopted voluntary carbon-reduction targets. (Data generally is not provided for interim targets for utilities subject to a mandatory 100% state-level requirement.) Data for interim targets has not yet been incorporated into the maps.
Are targets designed to reduce carbon intensity included?

No. Such targets don’t necessarily reduce overall carbon emissions.
Are gas utilities included?

Not at this time.
What are Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines Scope 1 emissions as direct greenhouse (GHG) emissions that occur from sources that are controlled or owned by an organization. Scope 2 emissions are indirect GHG emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat or cooling. Although Scope 2 emissions physically occur at the facility where they are generated, they are accounted for in an organization’s GHG inventory because they are a result of the organization’s energy use. Scope 3 emissions are the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization, but that the organization indirectly impacts in its value chain. Scope 3 emissions include all sources not within an organization’s Scope 1 and 2 boundary. See here for more information.
Where did SEPA obtain data for utility customer accounts?

From U.S. Energy Information Administration Form EIA-861.
How should I cite the SEPA Carbon-Reduction Tracker in a report?

SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker™. Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA). Retrieved [Month Day, Year], from https://sepapower.org/utility-transformation-challenge/utility-carbon-reduction-tracker/