On Monday August 7th, the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) passed with broad bipartisan support a resolution (starts pg. 42) urging Congress to fully fund the Department of Energy’s (DOE) appliance efficiency standards program. The resolution, which passed with broad bipartisan support, was sponsored by Vermont Representative Curt McCormack (Chittenden-6-3), who co-chairs the NCSL Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee and was an instrumental co-sponsor of Vermont’s appliance efficiency legislation in 2017.
Federal standards, and the laws that support the standards, have been adopted and enacted under both Republican and Democratic administrations. These standards save Vermonters on average $555/year on their utility bills (about 20% of the average utility bill), and have saved Vermont businesses $47 million/year.
But now, with a climate denier in the White House who has proposed a 70% cut to the office that studies and adopts these standards, they are at risk. That’s why VPIRG worked with Rep. McCormack and our allies at the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) in 2017 to pass H.411 (Act 42). This bill adopts the Federal standards into Vermont state law, so that they will still be in effect in Vermont (and saving Vermonters money and electricity!) if they are ever repealed.
We applaud Representative McCormack for his leadership protecting the Federal standards through the NCSL resolution. In addition to calling on Congress to fully fund the program, it asks them to continue regularly reviewing and updating the standards to ensure that they match technological innovations.
The resolution’s passage follows a release from the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP), highlighting their report showing that new appliance efficiency standards could save Americans $113 billion on products sold between 2020 and 2035, and 41,000 GWh annually in 2035. For Vermonters, that would be $218 million and 77 GWh saved.
Looking ahead to next session, the companion bill to H.411 in Vermont, H.410, would adopt about half of these standards in Vermont, following California, which has already adopted expanded efficiency standards. VPIRG will be urging legislators to take up H.410 in 2018.