Sanders Proposes Energy Efficiency Financing on Utility Bills

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) chaired a hearing today on how utilities can help customers use savings on their monthly power bills to finance energy-efficiency improvements at homes and small businesses.

"It is a simple and straightforward concept, and it presents a huge opportunity to cut energy bills, create jobs, and slash greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution," Sanders said at the outset of a hearing by the Senate green jobs subcommittee.

In addition to the energy savings and environmental benefits, Sanders also cited studies showing that investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy create more jobs than investments in fossil fuels.

"When you have a program that cuts energy bills and makes small businesses more competitive, creates jobs, and slashes greenhouse gas emissions, that is a win-win-win, and Congress should support these efforts," Sanders said.

He announced at the hearing that he will introduce legislation to support and expand "on-bill financing," the term describing initiatives already in place in 17 states where utility-run financing programs let customers pay for the projects in installments on their electric bills let small businesses and home-owners access funds to make energy improvements pay for themselves over time.

"In Vermont, we have led the nation in energy efficiency, and actually cut electric consumption by 14 percent over the last 10 years compared with projected demand," Sanders said.

"I am pleased our governor's new energy plan endorses on-bill financing as a way to help Vermonters access the funds to make our homes and businesses more efficient and move us toward more solar and geothermal and sustainable energy. "