Utility Energy Efficiency Plan Filings Reflect Legislative Gutting of Programs

posted on Monday, July 9, 2018 in Energy News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 9, 2018

CONTACT:
Kerri Johannsen
Energy Program Director
Iowa Environmental Council
515-473-0123 (Cell)
515-244-1194 ext. 208 (Office)
johanssen@iaenvironment.org

Utility Energy Efficiency Plan Filings Reflect Legislative Gutting of Programs

New Plans Filed Today at IUB Take Iowa Backward

DES MOINES - Utilities in Iowa met today’s deadline to file updated five-year energy efficiency plans with the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) following the passage of Senate File 2311 by the Iowa legislature this spring. The updated plans significantly cut energy efficiency programs, eliminating some programs entirely and rendering many others ineffective. These cuts will likely to lead to job losses at small businesses across Iowa.

“The cheapest form of energy is the energy we don’t use,” said Kerri Johannsen, Energy Program Director with the Iowa Environmental Council. “The legislation passed this spring and the new proposed plans are quite simply an opportunity for monopoly utilities to generate and sell more energy to Iowans who have no choice in who they do business with to power their home or business. Wasting more energy will increase rates for everyone in the long run.”

Complete analysis of the proposed plans is underway, but some of the harmful provisions for consumers include:

  • Elimination of home energy audits and business assessments.
  • Elimination of basic energy efficiency tools such as insulation.
  • Elimination in MidAmerican’s plan of programs for agricultural producers, business programs for building shell improvements, efficient motors, kitchen and food service equipment, and a program that makes it more affordable for customers to buy efficient lighting at their local hardware or grocery store.
  • Elimination in Alliant’s plan of many important kinds of efficiency equipment, including insulation and infiltration measures, duct sealing and insulation, programmable thermostats, and most food service efficiency measures.

More details on these cuts will be available shortly after a full analysis is completed, but it is clear that the passage of SF 2311 will have severe impacts on these programs. Overall:

  • Alliant’s 5-year natural gas efficiency plan will save 75% less than 2017 program results and their electricity plan will save 25% less.  
  • MidAmerican’s gas efficiency plan will save 80% less than 2017 program results and their electricity plan will save nearly 50% less.

The proposed plans will have a negative impact on jobs in Iowa for companies that install heating and cooling systems and insulation, manufacture energy-efficient appliances, and more.

“These proposals threaten the jobs of more than 20,000 Iowans who are employed in the energy efficiency sector, many in small businesses across the state,” said Josh Mandelbaum, an attorney with the Environmental Law and Policy Center. “In the past, Iowa has been a clean energy leader with strong energy efficiency plans, but this is a major step backward.”

The passage of Senate File 2311 prompted utilities to refile their plans. The bill, passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor in May 2018, contradicts the Iowa Energy Plan by scaling back the state’s energy efficiency programs and risking Iowa’s clean energy leadership and thousands of jobs in the energy efficiency industry across Iowa.

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