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Download MD-PIRG-EE-scorecard-web-version.pdf - Frontier Group

Download MD-PIRG-EE-scorecard-web-version.pdf - Frontier Group

Maryland Faces

Maryland Faces UnprecedentedEnergy ChallengesReliable access to electricity at a reasonablecost is crucial to Maryland’seconomy and the well-being of itsresidents. Unfortunately, high demandfor electricity—combined with the state’sreliance on dirty power sources—has contributedto system instability, high energyprices, and increased pollution that threatensMarylanders’ health and contributesto global warming. Between 1999 and thebeginning of 2009, electricity prices forresidential customers increased 27 percent(adjusted for inflation). 5 As a result, thetypical household in the state experienceda $400 increase in annual electricity costs,from $1,250 per year in 1999 to $1,650 peryear by the end of 2008. 6 This spike inutility bills forced many Marylanders toadjust their family budgets and seek waysto cut energy use.Improved energy efficiency can helpMaryland address these problems, offeringa simple and inexpensive way to contain risingcosts and reduce pollution from powerplants. Unfortunately, energy efficiencyin Maryland is severely underdeveloped,as the state made virtually no investmentsin energy efficiency after deregulation ofits electricity market in 1999. In 2004, forexample, Maryland utilities spent a paltryone cent per capita on efficiency (comparedto Vermont’s $22.54 or California’s$10.60). 7 But the state has re-launched effortsto reduce electricity use through theEmPOWER Maryland Energy EfficiencyAct. Under this program, electric utilitiesand the state have roles in reducing theoverall demand for electricity.Between 1999 and thebeginning of 2009, thetypical household inthe state experienced a$400 increase in annualelectricity costs.Maryland Faces Unprecedented Energy Challenges

Maryland Set Strong Goals to CutConsumption with EmPOWER MarylandThe EmPOWER Maryland EnergyEfficiency Act of 2008 grew out of aninitiative by Gov. Martin O’Malleyto set goals for reduced per-capita electricityconsumption in Maryland. Thetargets set in the EmPOWER Marylandlegislation are aggressive: 15 percent reductionsin per-capita consumption andin peak demand below 2007 levels by 2015.Maryland’s five utility companies are key toachieving these goals, as they are responsiblefor two-thirds of the electricity savingstargets and all of the peak demand targetsoutlined in the legislation. 8 The remainingportion of the EmPOWER Marylandtarget may be achieved through a variety ofnon-utility programs, such as federal programsthrough the American Recovery andReinvestment Act or efficiency standardsfor appliances set by the state.Achieving a lasting reduction in percapitaenergy use of 15 percent throughenergy efficiency would have a significantimpact on consumer power bills and theoverall stability of the energy market. Itwould also decrease pressure on systeminfrastructure, increase service reliability,and reduce harmful air pollution, improvingpublic health and helping to curb theimpact of global warming. It would helpprevent a rise in electricity prices once thestate’s economy recovers and electricitydemand increases. Meeting EmPOWERMaryland goals would support thousandsof new jobs and stimulate the state’s laggingeconomy.Although they have fallen behind onreaching EmPOWER Maryland goals,utilities have made a significant contributionto the energy efficiency benefitsachieved by the state in the last two years.Since the launch of their programs, utilitieshave saved nearly 660,000 MWh inelectricity—avoiding carbon dioxide pollutionequivalent to that emitted by morethan 650,000 cars per year. 9 Because ofefficiency measures taken in the last twoyears by more than 150,000 Marylandersthrough utility, state, and federal programs,consumers will spend $60 millionless on electricity every year, and up to$900 million less over the life of the investments,according to the Maryland EnergyAdministration. 10 Tens of thousands ofMarylanders have replaced outdated andinefficient appliances, yielding savings upto 9,000 MWh in energy savings annually.11 Additionally, training programs inFalling Behind on Energy Efficiency

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