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House passes Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014

From the March 7, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published March 7, 2014

By Jeannine Anderson

The House on Wednesday passed the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014 (H.R. 2126), sponsored by Reps. David McKinley, R-W.Va., and Peter Welch, D-Vt. 

The measure includes four titles. Title I would encourage commercial building owners and their tenants to reduce energy consumption through the Tenant Star Program, a voluntary certification and recognition program. Title II, which is backed by APPA, would exempt from regulation certain thermal storage water heaters under new Department of Energy efficiency standards that go into effect in April 2015. Title III would require federal agencies to coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget, the Environmental Protection Agency, and DOE to establish guidelines for implementing energy-saving information technologies. Title IV would require that federally leased buildings without Energy Star labels benchmark and disclose their energy usage data, where practical. 

Title II, which would resolve a water heater efficiency standard issue that has troubled several public power utilities, had recently been introduced as H.R. 4066 and was supported by APPA, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Assocation and the Edison Electric Institute. Late last week, H.R. 4066 was added to H.R. 2126 as Title II.

Last week, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, reintroduced their energy efficiency bill, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competiveness Act. The bill, commonly referred to as "Shaheen-Portman," does not yet have a bill number. The Senate measure has language fixing the water heater issue that is nearly identical to the language that passed the House this week in H.R. 2126. The Shaheen-Portman bill, as reintroduced, contains all of the energy efficiency bills that make up H.R. 4066 and is broader in scope than H.R. 2126. 

"Today the U.S. House showed again there is true bipartisan support for energy efficiency and the benefits efficiency brings to consumers, the economy, and the environment," said Lowell Ungar, senior policy adviser with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. "We urge the Senate to take up the mantle and pass the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill." 



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