Update: CA Legislature on Verge of Raiding Critical Energy Efficiency Fund

Two weeks ago, I called attention to a proposal before the Legislative Conference Committee to take $162 million in funds collected from gas users and customers in California for low income and cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades and divert them to the General Fund.  The proposed transfer from the Gas Consumption Surcharge Fund threatens to undercut California’s longstanding commitment to deliver energy and customer bill savings through improved energy efficiency, which has consistently been shown (see here and here) to be one of California’s most promising drivers of economic and job growth.

But last week the Committee voted to sweep $155 million from the fund in FY 2011, sparing only $7 million in an effort to maintain current funding levels for low income programs. The proposed transfer now goes to the floor for a vote that is expected this week.

California’s clean energy policies have for years attracted businesses and jobs to our state by sending a clear message to innovators and entrepreneurs that California is committed to developing clean energy solutions.  Californians from across the state cast their vote for maintaining that clean energy signal by overwhelmingly defeating Prop 23 last November. Gutting funding for energy efficiency programs midstream will only signal to efficiency providers, however, that California may be reneging on its commitment.

Tell your representatives to act on the people’s mandate to maintain California’s progress in building a clean energy economy and reject this ill-advised raid on customer funds.