The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has today come out in support of a new energy plan that was just approved by utility regulators in California. They say the plan will speed up the state’s energy savings as well as reduce the pollution that is causing global warming.
The plan from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) aims to maximize the energy savings by providing rewards to the state’s investor owned utilities if they assist their customers in becoming more energy efficient, which simply means using the same amount of energy to get more work done. This will be the cornerstone of the entire plan that the state has to implement the Global Warming Solutions Act, which is law that will require California to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide as well as other heat-trapping pollution to the levels they were at in 1990 and to get it done by 2020.
Audrey Chang, NRDC staff scientist comments that the plan is a common sense approach to the problem because it makes it in the best interest of the utilities to do everything they can to help their customers.
If California’s investor owned utilities, namely Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Gas are actually able to exceed the energy efficiency thresholds, they can earn a staggering $150 million each year before taxes.
On the other hand, if they do not do a good job at meeting the targets, they could be penalized up to $150 million. The highest award will be no more than 1% of the consumer’s yearly total cost for both electricity and natural gas.
The customers will reap a huge benefit, also because they will save more that $2 billion if the utilities meet the goals for the three-year period from 2006 to 2008. That would be more than a 100% return on investment.
If things go the way they should and the utilities do what they should, it will mean cleaner air and more money in the pockets of the citizens, which means they have more money to spend and that boosts the economy. It could be a win, win, win, situation.
This latest action finalizes an effort that was begun back in 2002. The utilities are required to design and deliver programs that encourage consumers to save energy such as giving the consumer rebates for the purchase of energy efficient appliances like air conditioners, clothes washers, furnaces and water heaters.
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists whose ain is to protect the public health and the environment.
Source: The Natural Resources Defense Council http://www.nrdc.org