A new report, released by Georgia Watch and Consumer Federation of America, finds that Georgia families will continue to spend an extra $450 per year on their energy bills if strong energy efficiency policies are not incorporated into the climate and energy legislation before Congress. The report shows that robust state and federal energy efficiency policies could dramatically reduce energy consumption and save Georgians money 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 Georgia 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.
“Georgia families are letting hundreds of dollars slip through their fingers each year – money none of us can afford to waste,” Angela Speir Phelps, Executive Director and Senior Director of the Consumer Energy Program at Georgia Watch said. “It’s imperative that state leaders encourage energy efficiency as a way to help consumers mitigate increasing utility bills.”
Founded in 2002, Georgia Watch is the state’s leading consumer group advocating for Georgia’s citizens and families and working to give families a voice in critical public debates. Georgia Watch is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to educating Georgia consumers on the health care, insurance and financial issues that impact them. Georgia Watch promotes consumer-friendly public policy and greater protections for victims of fraud, malpractice and misinformation.
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.