New Poll Reveals Illinois Residents Support Strong Lighting and Appliance Efficiency Standards

Nearly 80% of Voters Back the Use and Expansion of Energy Efficiency Technologies as General Assembly Mulls Energy Legislation

CHICAGO, IL (September 15, 2011) – Days after a high-profile energy bill was vetoed by Governor Quinn, new polling shows that Illinoisans are very interested in strengthened energy efficiency policies out of Springfield and Washington. Illinois residents solidly support energy efficiency technologies and would like the government to play a leading role in setting higher standards for appliances, light bulbs, and other household products, according to new Public Policy Polling survey results released today by a coalition of public interest groups.

“As state policymakers get serious about refining and passing energy infrastructure legislation this fall, they need to keep energy efficiency at the top of their list of priorities,” said Natural Resources Defense Council energy advocate Becky Stanfield. “This poll makes clear that expanding energy efficiency isn’t just good policy in Illinois, it is good politics. Strengthening our energy efficiency standards means more jobs, lower electricity bills and more product choices for consumers. I think everyone in Illinois can get behind those things.”

Some of the poll’s notable findings include:

  • 78 percent of voters in Illinois support expanded use of energy efficiency technologies to help meet our energy needs and reduce energy costs.

  • 84 percent of Illinois voters say they have already installed energy efficient products in their own homes or businesses.

  • 65 percent of voters agree that switching to more efficient lighting is an effective way to reduce energy waste.

  • There’s a strong bipartisan consensus on the issue with 85 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of independents, and 66 percent of Republicans supporting energy efficiency standards.

  • Voters strongly support the federal government setting minimum energy efficiency standards for various household products with 68 percent in favor for appliances to only 22 percent opposed; and 69 percent in favor for light bulbs to only 25 percent against.

  • In additional to federal action, 58 percent of voters would like the state government to require electric utilities ComEd and Ameren to help their customers become more energy efficient to those efforts. 

The survey also found that elected officials who attempt to weaken or delay energy efficiency standards could pay a price at the polls. Fifty-one percent of voters said they would oppose such efforts by their members of Congress at the polls to only 27 percent who would react favorably.

Energy efficiency programs in Illinois are already making a huge impact, saving Ameren and ComEd customers $2.80 for every dollar spent. The Illinois Commerce Commission just approved a new three year efficiency plan for ComEd, and under that plan ComEd will install enough energy efficiency measures to create a net savings to its customers of $500 million.

“Saving energy is one of the smartest, cheapest ways to lower utility bills and reduce air pollution,” said Jack Darin, Director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter.  “Conservation can also be a key to jumpstarting our economy as we create jobs in smart energy businesses, and give consumers more money to save or spend, rather then send off to their electric company.”

"Saving energy grows jobs, it's as simple as that. No other energy source is more job intensive," said Bruce Ratain, Clean Energy Associate with Environment Illinois. “Illinois’ energy efficiency industry already includes hundreds of companies providing thousands of jobs; the right policies will yield thousands more. Efficiency also pays for itself and is pollution free. Anyone who cares about the economy, jobs, and the environment should care about energy efficiency."

Consumer Reports recently tested a variety of energy efficient light bulbs newly available in stores. We found that these models use over 75% less energy, last nearly 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, and can save consumers hundreds of dollars over the life of the bulb,” said Ellen Bloom, Director of Federal Policy and the Washington, DC Office of Consumers Union. “Expanding energy standards means promoting energy efficiency, enhancing the lighting options available on the market, and helping American consumers save billions of dollars in electric bills.”

The survey had a sample size of 822 voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percent. It was conducted via telephone from August 25 to 28 by Public Policy Polling.