How many state agencies does it take to screw in a compact fluorescent light bulb and a low-flow faucet head? In Texas, the answer will make you grimace: six. That’s not a very efficient way to save money or energy.
This week, Environmental Defense Fund joined Public Citizen and the SEED Coalition to call for the Texas Legislature to create a single independent efficiency agency. Today our groups sent a letter to Speaker of the House Joe Straus and Chairmen of the relevant House and Senate committees calling for this new independent agency. Such an agency could coordinate and streamline programs that are now run – often inefficiently – by multiple agencies and help save Texans money in the process.
The most recent blow to Texas’ energy efficiency progress happened this past Friday, July 30th. The Public Utility Commission (PUC) proved it cannot effectively manage its energy efficiency programs for Texas citizens’ best interests when it radically scaled back a proposal that would have saved consumers $4 to $12 billion over twenty years.
Energy efficiency would cost around $1 per month on a $100 electric bill and save $3, but the PUC has indicated that even this small amount – that pays for itself – is too much. Texas deserve better than this.
An independent efficiency agency just makes sense.
- Money-saving, Pro-consumer, pro-business energy efficiency programs languish at the PUC
- Current programs are spread over six different agencies
- One agency in charge of coordinating all of Texas’ efficiency programs will reduce agency overlap
- It can be a “one stop shop” for information on all the rebates and incentives available to homes and create an opportunity to achieve more savings
- One truck (instead of three) can provide homes with comprehensive electric, water and gas efficiency services
Soon we’ll be following up with the chair of Texas’ Senate Natural Resources Committee Troy Fraser, and the chairs of Texas’ House Energy Resources and State Affairs Committees, Jim Keffer and Burt Solomons to work on the details of our independent efficiency agency proposal.
The Legislature has the ability and the perspective to set a strong and achievable goal for energy efficiency that will save households more money on their bill that will in turn boost consumer spending in other areas of the economy.