March 11, 2014
New thinking to formulate mechanism for producing an energy robust city is under review. As energy is placed on the legislative agenda to promote efficiency to benefit consumers has flurry of counter arguments concerning environment and jobs. The focus on the “Energy efficiency bill moves forward” in Indiana as they weigh the good, cost and impact.
“The Indiana Senate cast a vote that upset environmentalists on Monday. Now, the bill goes to the governor. Monday afternoon, the Senate approved a proposal to phase-out an energy conservation program at the end of the year. The sponsor, State Senator Jim Merritt, said he wants to make sure the program is a wise use of money. The Republican from Indianapolis said the program has cost ratepayers $500 million, so far. He predicted it could cost as much as $2 billion by 2019 when the program is scheduled to end. Energizing Indiana began in 2009 by order of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. The conservation measures have been funded by a $1.50 fee on your utility bill,” reported WTHITV.
“If energy efficiency policies aren’t leading to cost savings, they aren’t doing their job,” Merritt said. Jodi Perras of the Sierra Club said, if Governor Pence signs this bill, the change will cost hundreds of jobs and raise electricity rates in Indiana. In a statement released after the vote she said: “In just its first year, Energizing Indiana saved enough energy to power 64,000 homes for a year and directly supported 400 Hoosier jobs.” Merritt said a report, due in August, will reveal the costs versus the benefits of Energizing Indiana.”
The outcomes of energy efficiency must be weighed against the present cost and future demand that optimizes resources. The complexity is balancing the political floor of constituents against the environmental effects and the cost to consumers that need solutions. Both voices have merit and the role is to determine sustainability at all costs.
Further, the role of energy efficiency is not without data and technological integration. The state of health and conditions of homes, infrastructure and utility is predicated on retrofit, smart technology and the investment in utility for a platform of effective efficiency. There is an economic and social collaboration to gain efficiency. Efficiency is not achieved by a hand shake but a model and process change that is deliberately rolled out for sustainability.