Co-ops Cheer Senate Action on Water Heater Efficiency

(ARLINGTON, Va.) — America’s electric cooperatives today expressed appreciation for the Senate passage of the S. 535, the “Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015.” This long-awaited bill is critical to more than 250 co-ops that use large-capacity electric resistance water heaters (ERWH) for demand-response programs. Collectively, the co-op programs can reduce demand by an estimated 500 megawatts saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.

“This legislation is a huge win for co-ops across the country and the consumers-members they serve. The bill’s pragmatic, proven approach to efficiency will both help reduce demand for expensive peak energy and harness power generated from renewable sources,” said National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jo Ann Emerson. “The bill allows co-ops to continue these successful programs that can store energy even as they help consumers save on their monthly electric bills.”

Electric co-ops urge the House to act quickly on this bill. On April 16 new Department of Energy standards go into effect, banning the manufacture of large-capacity ERWH.

NRECA publicly thanks the bipartisan group of Senate leaders who persistently fought for this legislation. Included in that long list are U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), as well as John Hoeven (R-ND) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). NRECA also thanks Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.