House Bill 1227 isn’t the sexiest piece of legislation — not with a title like “Electric Demand-Side Management Program Extension” — but it’s likely the bill will put some energy in your bank account, in a good way.
Since 2007, the state Public Utilities Commission has pressed investor-owned utilities to find ways to make homes and businesses more energy efficient.
The result has been millions of dollars in savings for customers each year by cutting overall energy use by 12 percent. The goal was 5 percent when the program started.
The savings have come from better building designs and system controls, LED lights, smart thermostats and more efficient air-conditioning, among other initiatives.
Now it’s time to reauthorize the program for another 10 years. The bill’s sponsorship has more than enough bipartisan muscle to push it through: Reps. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, and Polly Lawrence, R-Roxborough Park; and Sens. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, and Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder.
The bill is scheduled to be heard Thursday by the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee. It passed the House 42-22 on April 4, and the House Transportation and Energy Committee 9-2 on March 29.
Conservation Colorado, the state’s largest environmental organization, said the state’s green building and other energy-efficiency companies support 40,335 jobs.
“Our energy efficiency businesses continue to thrive and grow at more than 100 percent per year because of friendly policies that we have in this state,” RJ Mastic, CEO of Boulder-based Ecosystems, said in a statement.
“I truly love this bill; it’s going to continue to help the energy efficiency world flourish, especially as the construction market is booming.”
Conservation Colorado said that every dollar invested in efficiency saves $3 on the average monthly household.
The advocacy group said the state’s two investor-owned utilities, Xcel and Black Hills, saved customers more than $1.3 billion — with a b — between 2009 and 2015.
“Households and businesses that cut their utility bill by saving energy then have more money to spend on other goods and services, thereby creating even more jobs.”
Adding, “This policy will result in hundreds of millions of dollars of additional utility bill savings for consumers and businesses, support existing jobs and create new jobs. Saving energy also provides other benefits such as helping low-income households “make ends meet” by cutting their utility bills, helping businesses be more competitive and reducing the amount of water that is consumed in power generation.”