On Wednesday, June 26th, the Louisiana Public Service Commission will be voting on whether or not to join 46 other states in delivering energy efficiency programs to lower bills for Louisiana families and businesses. The Commission realized that the Energy Efficiency vote in February was not handled in the best way. Hence, the commission will be bringing the energy efficiency rules back up for a vote next week but THIS TIME, the public will be allowed to speak. Last time we lost the rules but we’ve got another shot. The vote will be next Wednesday, June 26th.
Bringing energy efficiency to Louisiana has been a central part of our work here at the Alliance for Affordable Energy because the tremendous financial benefits for customers. Believe it or not, Louisiana has some of the lowest electric power rates in the country…BUT OUR ENERGY BILLS ARE AMONG THE HIGHEST IN THE NATION (45th in state rankings). Louisiana can’t afford to be throwing money away on wasted energy!
From the chart below, it is clear that Louisianians are paying more on their energy bills in spite of having some of the cheapest rates in the country. We pay on average $0.91 cents per square foot to run our homes while people in Maine are only paying $0.53 per square foot and have rate $0.04 cents higher!
Energy efficiency can help to substantially lower Louisiana’s energy bills. According to a study released last month by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Louisiana ratepayers can save over $4 billion by investing in efficiency over the next two decades. Not only does efficiency lower bills, increasing property values and improve comfort in the home, it creates new jobs, grows business, and increases state tax revenues. investing in efficiency means a $3 billion injection into our local economy leading to much needed job creation and business growth.
As energy needs continue to grow we have a few options in how we manage growth:
1. We continue to meet demand by building $1 billion dollar power plants every 5 years, like Entergy has planned;
2. We change our behavior and conserve power by cutting down on the AC and sacrifice some of our modern conveniences; OR
3. We invest in an energy efficiency incentive program, keep our modern lifestyles, avoid expensive new power plant construction costs.
Energy efficiency is the most affordable option. It’s a lot cheaper to caulk leaks, change out lighting, improve HVAC systems than it is to build a new power plant. Efficiency works because it saves ALL customers money, whether or not they choose to participate in the program. Energy efficiency costs about $0.03 per kWh while a new natural gas plant costs $0.08 per kWh.
We all belong to the electric system, meaning that my energy use and costs have an impact on your energy use and costs. If I increase my consumption, especially during peak load hours on a hot day, you help pay for my consumption. But the reverse is true too. When I save money by using less, you save money too by avoiding the cost of acquiring the most expensive power resource to meet our collective system’s demand.
Contact the LPSC and let them know you want to see efficiency work for Louisiana the way it is working across the rest of the country. Let them know you want an energy efficiency program because it will save you and your community money on your electric bills. Let them know you want an energy efficiency program because you want to see dollars invested in your community and in local jobs instead of on purchasing fuel for power plants.
If you need more information or are interested in attending the LPSC meeting and need help with transportation, please call us at 504.208.9761.