New Opportunity for Missouri to Save $4.3 Billion Through Increased Efficiency

For Immediate Release: June 8, 2010
Contact: Erin Noble, Renew Missouri
(314) 727-0600 / enoble@moenviron.org  

New Opportunity for Missouri to Save $4.3 Billion through Increased Efficiency

Jefferson City, MO – Missourians could save $4.3 billion on their electricity bills over the next 12 years if the Missouri Public Service Commission adopts common-sense energy efficiency targets that are already on the books in states such as Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.  Moreover, doing so would create more than 3500 jobs. 
This was the conclusion of a new analysis by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), released Monday by a coalition of national and state clean energy advocacy organizations. 
The groups are calling on the Missouri PSC to adopt energy efficiency targets as part of a rule they are writing to implement the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act.  The law was passed in 2009, and sets a goal for Missouri utilities to capture all the potential for cost-effective energy savings. 
In states that have set such targets, utilities are meeting them with aggressive and innovative programs to help their customers lower their energy consumption with efficient lighting, appliances, and building improvements.
“This makes economic sense for Missouri,” said Wendy Jaehn, Executive Director of MEEA.  “Missouri utilities can use energy efficiency to avoid much more costly electricity generation, transmission and distribution, saving their customers billions of dollars.  In state after state we’ve found that when you set reasonable targets, the utilities deliver this savings and everyone benefits.”
This new law is a critical step in bolstering energy efficiency in Missouri.  The Show Me State currently ranks amongst the worst ten states in regards to efficiency according to the 2010 Efficiency Scorecard released by the American Council on Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). 
Such a low ranking is costly for ratepayers because energy efficiency is widely known to be the cheapest energy resource, costing at least 2-3 times less than producing new energy.  Though efficiency is cheapest, Missouri utilities spend $190 per person each year on imported coal but only 20 cents per person each year to implement energy efficiency according to a Union of Concerned Scientists’ report Importing Coal, Exporting Cash released in May.   
The law passed also makes it a priority to address a number of financial disincentives for utilities to invest in efficiency, as opposed to other resources.  Under current ratemaking policy, utilities are penalized financially when their sales decline through energy efficiency.  The rules will address how to eliminate this penalty. 
“It’s not smart policy to punish utilities for doing the right thing, and reward them for making costlier investments in unnecessary and highly polluting sources of electricity,” said Rebecca Stanfield, Senior Energy Advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council.  “We need to turn that around,” she concluded.
“The targets we’re advocating will allow us to hold utilities accountable and helps the public know that ratepayer money is going towards the implementation of effective utility efficiency programs,” said PJ Wilson of Renew Missouri, a non-profit renewable energy and energy efficiency advocacy group.   
“Energy efficiency programs help control utility rates and put Missourians back to work implementing efficiency,” says Byron DeLear of the Missouri Accredited Energy Efficiency Professionals (MAEEP).  MAAEP represents over 100 energy efficiency business across Missouri. 
25 other states have similar energy saving standards.  Current experience is that utilities are saving energy for about 3 cents per unit of electricity (kwh), and thereby avoiding electricity costs of 6-12 cents per kwh.  That means that for each dollar invested, customers save two to four dollars on their bills.  The PSC is holding its third and final workgroup meeting on Friday to consider an EERS.  The final decision will come later this summer. 
Find the Executive Summary and Report titled Potential Long-Term Savings from Electric and Natural Gas Efficiency Resource Standards in Missouri at:  www.mwalliance.org/meea-publications/meea-report-potential-long-term-savings-electric-and-natural-gas-eers-missouri