A group of U.S. natural gas associations has written a letter to Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, to call attention to problematic provisions in the “energy efficiency resource standards” (EERS) included in Senate and House energy bills that are pending on Capitol Hill right now. While the end result is a laudable one, the National Gas Council (NGC) is mainly concerned with the uncertainty contained in the current EERS language.
The Natural Gas Council, comprised of the American Gas Association, the Natural Gas Supply Association, the Interstate Natural Gas Association, and the Independent Petroleum Association of America, pointed out to the senator that the mandate for new energy consumption reduction goals for natural gas customers seems to rely on large, after-the-fact penalties rather than incentives. These penalties are tied to consumer behavior, which utilities can neither control nor dictate, but which monetarily punish utilities when customers fail to meet the reduction goals. The Council is optimistic that this Congress will draft legislation that will help reduce the nation’s energy and carbon intensity through a mechanism that is clear and predictable, and one that takes into account its impact on those entities already working to increase energy efficiency.