Louisiana Passes Statewide Energy Efficiency Standard
Last month, thanks in large part to three years of hard work by the Sierra Club, Louisiana became the third state in the Southeast to adopt a statewide energy-efficiency standard. The Louisiana Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the new standard by a 3-2 vote.
That's New Orleans-based Sierra Club organizer Jordan Macha, at left above, with Casey DeMoss Roberts, executive director of the Alliance for Affordable Energy, celebrating the news.
"One of the greatest ways to save energy or make it cheaper is to conserve," said PSC commissioner Lambert Boissiere III, practically channeling the Sierra Club's energy-efficiency mantra.
"The Sierra Club and our allies, the Alliance for Affordable Energy and the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, really hustled in the days, weeks, and months before the vote to ensure that our commissioners knew Louisiana ratepayers badly wanted this standard," says Macha. "We demonstrated that its passage would save ratepayers money, help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and provide the next piece in the puzzle in creating a comprehensive clean energy policy for Louisiana."
Macha says they also emphasized that this would be a "legacy vote" for commissioner Jimmy Field, who had announced his plans to retire at the end of 2012.
As reported in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the new standard gives electric utilities and natural gas providers about a year to develop programs that will provide incentives to residential and business customers to lower their electricity use, bringing big savings to ratepayers and small businesses statewide.
PSC members hope the state will follow the lead of New Orleans' Energy Smart program, in effect since 2011, which provides in-home energy audits to help find ways customers can make cost-effective energy-saving measures like installing insulation, sealing air leaks, upgrading appliances, and tuning up their air conditioners.
Delta Chapter volunteers, Beyond Coal organizers, and their allies delivered hundreds of petitions and made hundreds of phone calls to PSC commissioners, met one-on-one with each of them, submitted dozens of letters-to-the-editor to newspapers across the state, and earned media coverage that raised public awareness of the issue as the commission's vote approached.
Macha gives a shout-out to Louisiana Beyond Coal organizers Jill Mastrototaro and Andy Wilson, attorney Casey Roberts of the Club's Environmental Law Program, Beyond Coal regional organizer Nachy Kanfer, and Sierra Club associate press secretary Jenna Garland. "All of you are rock stars, and your support over the last three years played a critical role in this victory," Macha says.