Public Power Daily
Monday, December 8, 2014

Sens. Shaheen and Portman introduce a shorter version of their efficiency bill

On Dec. 3, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced a shorter version of their bipartisan energy efficiency bill. The American Public Power Association (APPA) backs the measure.

The bill, S. 2971, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014, is identical in content and title to H.R. 2126, which passed the House on March 3, 2014, by a vote of 375-36. The bill stalled in the Senate last May when it failed to get enough votes (60) to avoid a filibuster.

Title I of the bill encourages commercial building owners and their tenants to reduce energy consumption through the Tenant Star Program, a voluntary certification and recognition program.

Title II exempts from regulation certain thermal storage water heaters under new Department of Energy efficiency standards that go into effect in April 2015, a provision that was previously supported by APPA, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and others as a stand-alone bill (H.R. 4066).

Title III requires 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 requires that federally leased buildings without Energy Star labels benchmark and disclose their energy usage data, where practical.

Earlier this year, APPA, the Alliance to Save Energy and a broad coalition of over 80 companies, organizations, and trade associations wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, asking them to bring the Shaheen-Portman bill to the floor for a vote. The measure "would help meet America's goals of increasing energy productivity, enhancing energy security, reducing harmful emissions, and promoting economic growth in a financially responsible manner," the coalition said (see Public Power Daily, May 2, 2014).

Whether the Senate will take up the bill in the remaining days of the 113th Congress is an open question, but by re-introducing a bill that is identical to one that has already passed the House, Sens. Shaheen and Portman appear to have boosted the measure's chances of passage. —JEANNINE ANDERSON

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