Washington, DC – The American Gas Association (AGA) is pleased that the draft climate-energy bill introduced this week by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA) recognizes the significant gains made by U.S. natural gas customers to improve their energy efficiency and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions at home and at work.
Under the proposal, residential and commercial natural gas customers would not be included in a cap-and-trade system until 2016. This delay is in recognition of their success over the past four decades in terms of increased energy efficiency.
“Our customers are using about 30 percent less natural gas per household now than they did in 1980 because of the smart energy choices they make every day,” said David Parker, president and CEO of AGA.
The bill also includes a “carbon footprint labeling” proposal that would provide consumers with information about the carbon dioxide emissions of each new appliance.
“The carbon labeling program will help consumers better understand the environmental footprint of their appliances compared to others nationally, resulting in greater energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions,” Parker said. “This will help natural gas utilities and their customers be more responsible stewards.”
Provisions in the bill that raise some concern center on potentially penalizing local gas utilities if their customers fail to reach a certain level of energy efficiency.
“While natural gas utilities will do everything in their power to assist their customers in using energy wisely, consumers will make the ultimate decision about how much energy they use,” Parker said, “The utility should not be at risk financially for decisions beyond its control.”
Parker added that an additional concern is that different sections of the bill seem to overlap—seeking the same goal (energy efficiency) but using different approaches (cap-and-trade versus command and control) resulting in higher compliance costs for utilities and their customers.
“We look forward to working with the House Energy and Commerce Committee as it crafts common-sense legislation that aims to improve our country’s energy security and encourage the increased use of clean, affordable fuels such as natural gas,” he said.