Bipartisan Bass-Matheson Bill Advances Energy Efficiency Agenda

Release Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012

March 5, 2012 Update: Since introducing the Smart Energy Act, Reps. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) have been actively pursuing prospects for advancing the legislation through the House Energy and Commerce Committee and onto the House floor for a vote. As a first step, both congressmen advocated that the House Energy and Power Subcommittee schedule the measure for a hearing. In the coming weeks, the Bass and Matheson offices will work to garner support for a mark-up.

Moving the US Toward Enactment of Key Energy Efficiency Legislation

The bipartisan energy efficiency bill introduced Feb. 15, 2012 by House Energy and Commerce Committee members Reps. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) would help create private sector jobs, improve economic competitiveness and reduce our nation’s energy use, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.    

“Introduction of the Bass-Matheson bill moves our nation significantly closer to enactment of important energy efficiency legislation this year,” commented Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “With similar legislation, in the form of the bipartisan Shaheen-Portman bill (S. 1000) ready to go to the Senate floor, we could have the basis very soon for a fruitful conversation about increasing our nation’s energy efficiency. 

Smart Energy Act to Boost Energy Efficiency & US Economy

“The Alliance applauds Congressmen Bass and Matheson for showcasing that energy efficiency policy is a nonpartisan issue that will help to alleviate the economic, environmental and security problems associated with our country’s current wasteful energy use,” Callahan added.     

“Improving energy efficiency is a vital part of reaching our goal and strategy to achieve energy independence and security," Bass said. "Providing more opportunities for private industry to utilize energy-efficient technologies and systems will spur advancements in this field while at the same time cutting our energy costs." Bass explained that the bill sets the federal government on track to become the "first adopter" of these energy-efficient practices in order to encourage new investments and save taxpayers money. "I thank the Alliance to Save Energy for their support of this critical legislation and their efforts to promote effective energy policies in our nation,” he noted.

An Energy Efficiency Bill for Government, Businesses & Consumers

The Smart Energy Act of 2012 (H.R. 4017) would reduce barriers for government, businesses and consumers seeking to adopt off-the-shelf energy efficiency technologies that will save them money by:

  • Boosting private-sector investments in building efficiency upgrades by expanding the Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program.  
  • Expanding use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) by federal agencies.
  • Requiring the federal government – the country’s single largest energy user – to adopt energy-saving techniques for computers, better building standards and smart metering technology, which would pass on energy and taxpayer dollar savings to consumers.
  • Helping manufacturers reduce energy use and become more competitive by establishing collaborative research partnerships within DOE to promote research and commercialization of innovative manufacturing processes.

Bill Complements Existing Efforts for Energy Savings, Job Creation

“While today’s economic and political challenges make it increasingly difficult to advance national energy policies, bills like the Bass-Matheson legislation that stop energy waste can bridge the partisan divide to create jobs, save businesses and consumers money, and increase the productivity of our economy,” said Callahan.

Without the numerous energy efficiency improvements made since 1973, the United States would be using 50% more energy to power the economy. And even with those efficiency gains, U.S. energy requirements are still projected to increase about 20% by 2035, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The Smart Energy Act complements the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 1000), which was approved on a bipartisan 18-3 vote last summer by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), S. 1000 served as a model for the Bass-Matheson bill. 

The Alliance to Save Energy and its Associate members will be working with the offices of Reps. Bass and Matheson to secure early committee consideration of this important measure.

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