Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New York Consumers Could Save $518 Per Year if Energy Efficiency Policies are Adopted

A new report released today finds that New York families will continue to spend an extra $518 per year on their energy bills if strong energy efficiency policies are not incorporated into the climate and energy legislation before Congress. The report, released by the Public Utility Law Project of New York, Inc. (PULP) and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), shows that robust state and federal energy efficiency policies could dramatically reduce energy consumption and save New Yorkers $518 on their energy bills every year. These policies would drive down energy costs for families in every state while jump-starting a clean energy economy across the country to put Americans back to work.

The report demonstrates the immense benefits to New York families of including strong energy efficiency policies as part of the climate and energy package and job-creation measures currently being debated by the U.S. Senate. The report, “Building on the Success of Energy Efficiency Programs to Ensure an Affordable Energy Future,” is the first to look strictly at the effects of energy efficiency on home energy use and home utility bills since climate legislation began moving in Congress earlier this year.

Based on an analysis of state programs and recent national studies, the report concludes that energy efficiency programs can dramatically cut energy waste and that strong federal energy efficiency policies could reduce overall energy use by 20 to 30 percent.

“Our research shows we’ve only begun to tap the energy efficiency potential that can create jobs, conserve energy, and save families hundreds of dollars each year,” said report author Dr. Mark Cooper, Research Director for the Consumer Federation of America. “Given its stellar record of success, it’s time for senators to view energy efficiency as a cornerstone of the nation’s climate and energy policy.”

The report outlines specific policies that would maximize the cost-saving potential of efficiency and create new jobs. These policies include a federal energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) that would require utility companies to encourage efficiency programs for customers, strengthened building codes and appliance efficiency improvements, and proper funding for “retrofitting” or improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings. Other efficiency proposals – including “BuildingSTAR,” a program that would provide tax credits for retrofitting commercial and apartment buildings – would help businesses cut costs and allow clean energy businesses to expand, putting more Americans into long-term quality jobs.

“Consumers are letting hundreds of dollars a year slip through their fingers – money they can hardly afford to waste,” said Gerald Norlander, Executive Director of PULP. “We hope Senators Schumer and Gillibrand recognize this clear evidence that common-sense energy efficiency policies can give their state’s families relief from needlessly high gas and electric bills.”

The Public Utility Law Project of New York, Inc. is a member of CFA working to advance universal service, consumer protection, and affordability of energy and utility services for all New Yorkers.

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an advocacy, research, education and service organization made up of 300 nonprofits from across the United States. CFA has provided consumers a well-reasoned and articulate voice in decisions that affect their lives since 1968. CFA's professional staff gathers facts, analyzes issues, and disseminates information to the public, policymakers, and rest of the consumer movement.

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