Bill to increase energy efficiency for under-resourced households moves ahead

Under-resourced households spend up to three times more of their household income on energy compared to the average household. A bill being heard in the Senate aims to substantially increase the state’s requirements for gas utility spending on energy efficiency programs that serve these households, including pre-weatherization measures. 

The bill doubles utilities’ minimum spending requirements for energy efficiency programs that serve under-resourced households and allows up to 15% of this spending to be used for pre-weatherization. Public utilities are given an option to contribute to a “Healthy AIR Asbestos Insulation Remediation” program, and these funds can contribute toward a utility’s CIP low-income spending requirements. The Commerce Department is to set up a stakeholder group to review and update guidelines for the eligibility of multi-family buildings in low-income programs by July 1, 2021.

A recent CIP Potential Study found that Minnesota utilities can do much more to meet the energy efficiency potential in under-resourced households over the next decade. The measures in this bill will benefit many of these households that currently pay more on energy. Benefits will include better health outcomes, more seniors being able to stay in their homes, and improvements in aging housing stock. The bill is to be heard next in the Finance Committee. (SF 3386)