INDIANAPOLIS - Today, Governor Mike Pence allowed Senate Bill 340 to become law without his signature, which will halt the state’s existing energy efficiency program by prohibiting the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) from requiring utilities to meet any energy savings goals. The law will also prohibit the IURC from extending or entering into a new contract to run the statewide Energizing Indiana program.
In response, Jodi Perras, Indiana representative for Sierra Club’ Beyond Coal Campaign, released the following statement:
“Today’s decision makes Indiana the first state in the nation to roll back its energy savings goals. While we are very disappointed with the governor’s decision to allow SEA340 to become law, it is critical that Governor Pence and the Indiana General Assembly now follow through on their promise of creating an improved energy efficiency program for Indiana. Energizing Indiana has saved millions of dollars, created hundreds of jobs, reduced energy costs and made Indiana homes and businesses warmer and more energy efficient. There’s no denying that hundreds of energy efficiency workers will be out of a job next January when utilities cancel or scale back home energy audits, appliance rebates and low-income home weatherization programs. We will now work with our coalition partners to make sure Indiana electric utilities will be required to replace what they’ve destroyed, despite their historic failure to reduce energy demand for the benefit of their customers.”
Energizing Indiana has created more than 1,500 jobs and served more than 200,000 Hoosier households and businesses. An independent evaluation of the program’s first year concluded that for every dollar spent on “demand-side management” programs, Indiana utilities saved two dollars, resulting in more than $80 million in savings in 2012. Industrial and commercial programs were even more cost-effective -- saving $3.19 for every dollar spent
Energy efficiency programs also protect electricity customers from the cost of building expensive new power plants that are not needed. In a study released last year, Purdue University’s State Utility Forecasting Group predicted that Indiana's energy efficiency program will save 1,800 megawatts in peak energy demand by 2022. These savings would avoid the need to build 2.5 power plants the size of the Harding Street Power Station on the south side of Indianapolis.
Indiana recently achieved full-scale implementation of the statewide energy efficiency programs. Recent progress helped the state move past Kentucky, Missouri and four other states to 27th in the 2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, published by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Just the statewide “core” energy efficiency programs alone are saving 25 times more electricity than the utilities were under the old “voluntary” approach in 2008, as shown in the graph below.