Merkley Introduces Pair of Bills to Help Local Governments, Families Cut Their Energy Bills, Emissions

Merkley Introduces Pair of Bills to Help Local Governments, Families Cut Their Energy Bills, Emissions

Legislation would help people afford energy efficiency upgrades

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley introduced both the Community Energy Savings Program (CESP) Act—legislation to provide low-interest financing to consumers who want to make energy efficiency, renewable energy, or energy storage upgrades to their homes—and legislation to reauthorize the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, which gives state, local, and tribal governments the assistance they need to save money and cut dangerous pollution. The CESP Act was also introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today, in an effort led by U.S. Representative Ann Kuster (D-NH-02).

“Lots of families in my blue collar neighborhood would love to reduce their energy bills, but can’t afford the up-front costs of investing in better insulation, new windows, or a more efficient boiler,” said Merkley.  “But if we, together, cover those up-front costs with cheap loans, those families can repay them from their savings on their utility bills. They’ll have more money in their pockets, and we’ll all have less pollution in our skies fueling catastrophic wildfires, droughts, and other disasters.”

“With New Hampshire communities already experiencing the negative impacts of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the existing need for affordable energy solutions, policies to expand access to affordable, clean energy projects have never been more timely or essential,” said Kuster. “I’m proud to reintroduce the Community Energy Savings Program Act to lower the financial barrier for Americans who wish to finance energy efficient and renewable energy projects. This legislation will help to drive down energy bills for Granite State families, create new green energy jobs, and protect our environment by reducing carbon pollution.”

Merkley wrote the bipartisan Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP), which was included in the 2014 Farm Bill, and has helped thousands of families and businesses in rural communities across America make critical energy efficiency improvements to their homes and workplaces. CESP expands those opportunities to Americans in suburban and urban areas, ensuring that more families can make energy infrastructure improvements at a much lower cost than any other option.

The EECBG program was passed in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to provide block grants to cities, communities, states, territories and tribal governments to advance energy efficiency and conservation projects.  The program is the biggest nationwide direct investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in American history and a model for how green stimulus can create American jobs.

Full text of the CESP legislation is available here, and a fact sheet is available here. Full text of the EECBG legislation is available here.