Alliance Says New Energy Efficiency Provisions Could Make U.S. Electricity System More Reliable, Affordable

Release Date: Friday, October 17, 2003

The Alliance to Save Energy today said a bill introduced by Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt.) could help ensure electricity reliability by putting forward reliability standards and a range of energy efficiency provisions to reduce demand – particularly peak demand – and lower consumer costs.

“The Electric Reliability Security Act of 2003 does what the comprehensive energy bill now pending on Capitol Hill does not do – stimulate investment in the energy efficiency of our electricity system to reduce consumer costs and improve reliability,” said Alliance Acting Co-President Mark Hopkins. “The 2001 blackouts in California demonstrated the fragility of the U.S. electric grid and the need to make it more reliable for consumers by reducing demand. California 's concerted energy efficiency campaign reduced electricity use by 6 percent in just one year, which did a lot to roll back high prices and avoid more blackouts.”

In addition to mandatory electricity reliability standards, Jeffords' bill includes these energy efficiency provisions that the Alliance favors:

  • System benefits fund: The bill creates a new national fund that would provide billions of dollars in matching funds for state programs that support energy efficiency, as well as for renewable energy, low-income assistance, and research.
  • Electricity efficiency performance standard: Electric retail suppliers would be required to implement programs to reduce overall electricity use by their customers by 0.75 percent each year, and to reduce peak demand by 1 percent a year, eliminating the need to build new generation plants and transmission lines.
  • The bill also would require the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to consider amending air conditioner efficiency standards and would provide loan guarantees for energy efficiency measures.

“The public benefits fund and the reliability performance standard are two legs that can help carry us forward to a modern, efficient, affordable electricity system,” Hopkins said. “We commend Sen. Jeffords for introducing this forward-looking bill.”