New Indiana Energy Bill Aims to Audit State Property

by Kevin Tidmarsh

A new bill in the Indiana legislature could walk back some of the state’s recent cutbacks on energy efficiency programs. House Resolution 1107, which was introduced in this session of the Indiana legislature, aims to remedy some of the cutbacks on the defunct state initiative called Energizing Indiana by allowing for the Indiana Department of Administration to conduct energy efficiency audits on the state properties deemed to be the “least efficient.”

From 2012 until the end of 2014, Energizing Indiana conducted home assessments, weatherized low-income households, promoted energy efficiency in schools, gave discounts for more efficient residential lighting, and offered commercial and industrial rebates for efficiency investments. The program was effectively repealed in 2014 with the passing of the Republican-authored SB 340, which even Republican governor Mike Pence did not sign because “it does away with a worthwhile energy efficiency program,” reported ThinkProgress [http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/03/31/3420960/end-indiana-energy-efficiency-program/].

After its repeal, a performance report conducted by an independent company called GoodCents found that Energizing Indiana had actually saved the state about 11 million megawatt hours and created nearly 19,000 jobs, as reported by Midwest Energy News [http://midwestenergynews.com/2015/06/26/before-being-dismantled-indianas-efficiency-program-was-effective-2/]. This report hasn’t exactly left Indiana lawmakers scrambling to correct their errors, however – in fact, the proposed bill has been scaled way back from the Energizing Indiana. Most notably, HB 1107 only applies to properties owned by the state government, whereas the Energizing Indiana initiative had a much broader reach and could apply to some private residences and property as well. The new bill may save the state of Indiana some money, but it won’t do much else.

So does HB 1107 have any chance of passing through the Indiana General Assembly? It’s hard to say at this point – the bill being co-authored by a Republican and a Democrat certainly gives it some credibility on both sides of the aisle, but it may still draw opposition from Republican lawmakers (after all, the bill to nix Energizing Indiana passed by a huge margin thanks to a Republican supermajority in the General Assembly – 37-8 in the Senate and 69-26 in the House). The bill has been referred to the Committee on Government and Regulatory Reform, so we’ll just have to see how it progresses from here.

Foster, Joanna M. “Gov. Pence Lets Indiana Energy Efficiency Program Die.” ThinkProgress. March 31, 2014. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/03/31/3420960/end-indiana-energy-efficiency-program/

Lydersen, Kari. “Before being dismantled, Indiana’s efficiency program was effective.” June 26, 2015. http://midwestenergynews.com/2015/06/26/before-being-dismantled-indianas-efficiency-program-was-effective-2/

TAGS: Indiana, energy efficiency, state program, Republican, Democrat, Energizing Indiana, Mike Pence, general assembly

EMAIL: Mike Karickhoff’s press: brenda.holmes@iga.in.gov

Indiana Democrats press: John.Schorg@iga.in.gov

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