Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lawmakers Urged to Cut Energy Consumption

A statewide environmental group wants lawmakers to sign a pledge promising to work for energy conservation legislation. It's a push to get consumers ready for price hikes that may occur when electricity caps expire.
Jan Jarrett is vice president of Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future. She says the tools and programs proposed in the bill could help consumers and businesses cut their energy use by as much as 20 percent.

"That is a huge amount and it would go a long way toward keeping energy prices down."

The bill gives consumers different pricing plans, including an option that costs less for off peak hours. If the legislation succeeds, Jarrett says Pennsylvania could have statewide goals for reducing electricity use.

One provision of the bill requires utility companies to install smart meters in all homes within 10 years.

"It requires the utilities, instead of installing a dumb meter when it's time to replace for maintenance purposes it will require them to install these smart meters."

In July state lawmakers approved millions of dollars to develop and encourage more alternative energy - like solar and wind power. But PennFuture says that's just part of the equation. Jarrett says the state needs to show customers how to save money by curbing usage.

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