BALTIMORE, Md. -- In conjunction with an act from the House of Delegates, the Maryland State Senate voted to support energy efficiency and codify the Public Service Commission’s updates to the EmPOWER Maryland program. The 2008 EmPOWER Maryland legislation established landmark energy efficiency targets and programs through 2015 with huge successes in energy efficiency services like appliance and lighting rebates, home energy checkups and behavior-based energy saving programs. The legislation will ensure the state continues its energy efficiency investments by codifying a PSC Order from July 2015 that requires utilities to reduce electricity usage 2 percent annually by 2020.
"Thanks to the House and Senate supporting both the updated Renewable Portfolio Standard and now the EmPOWER bill, Maryland is securing its commitment to a clean energy economy," said David Smedick, Maryland Beyond Coal Campaign and Policy Representative for the Sierra Club. "Earlier this morning, a report published by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy found that the new EmPOWER programs included in the bill will save Maryland residents and businesses $11.7 billion, create over 60,000 new jobs, and reduce electricity consumption by 130 billion kilowatt hours. That is an incredible investment and we’re happy the General Assembly is endorsing EmPOWER again this year."
According to another report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, EmPOWER programs have deployed efficiency measures that will save Marylanders more than $4 billion through the lifespan of the program, making it one of the most successful energy services in the state. The programs have avoided:
- 19 million metric tons of climate-disrupting carbon pollution
- 34 million pounds of smog-forming nitrogen oxides
- 78 million pounds of dangerous sulfur dioxide pollution
"With further energy efficiency programs from EmPOWER, customers will see billions in total bill savings. Not to mention the continued avoidance of millions of tons of dangerous pollution," said Smedick. "EmPOWER cleans Maryland's air and lowers electricity bills, it is the definition of a win-win program. The vote in the Senate today is one of the most critical steps in getting this bill on the Governor’s desk for signature, and we’re excited for the House and Senate to putting the final touches on the EmPOWER bill in the coming days and weeks."
SOURCE: Sierra Club