Iowa Senate approves measure to drop efficiency program requirements
- The Iowa Senate yesterday voted 27-23 in favor of a bill to drop requirements that utilities offer energy efficiency programs, led by Republicans aiming to reduce costs.
- Iowa ranks 19th in energy efficiency, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy's annual scorecard, and a part of that is mandates for utilities to provide electric and gas efficiency programs.
- The measure, Senate File 2311, now heads to the House. According to the Des Moines Register, similar legislation has stalled in the lower chamber. Several large companies including Apple, Google and Facebook, have opposed the legislation.
MidAmerican Energy, the state's largest utility, isn't backing the bill, but the Register reports Alliant Energy, cooperatives, municipal utilities and others are in favor. The newspaper, however, reports that some lawmakers criticized the bill for potentially raising rates.
"Grandma is going to have a bigger utility bill that she can't pay," said state Sen. Matt McCoy, a Democrat.
MidAmerican has proposed reducing its spending on efficiency programs, but it also notes that its efficiency spending is among the highest in the nation. Residential customers are each paying about $125 annually for energy efficiency programs, the utility says, and its very largest customers spend more than $1 million.
In its application to reduce the size of its program, MidAmerican told regulators that it spends 7.7% of its revenue on energy efficiency programs, "higher than any state in the nation."
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