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

Nearly 80% of Voters Back the Use and Expansion of Energy Efficiency Technologies

CHICAGO, IL (September 15, 2011) – New polling shows that even as the state legislature considers a bill promoting outmoded and inefficient lighting technology, Michigan 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. The opinion data comes from a new Public Policy Polling survey released today by public interest groups.

“Supporting energy efficiency standards means more jobs, lower electricity bills and more product choices for consumers,” said Natural Resources Defense Council energy advocate Becky Stanfield. “You simply cannot get any of those benefits by clutching the status quo in a century-old technology of an incandescent bulb. It’s just plain common sense – and that’s why the people of Michigan support the expansion of efficiency standards with all the benefits that come with them.”

Some of the poll’s notable findings include:

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

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

  • 62 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 84 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of independents, and 69 percent of Republicans supporting energy efficiency standards.

  • Voters strongly support the federal government setting minimum energy efficiency standards for various household products with 62 percent in favor for appliances to only 27 percent opposed; and 64 percent in favor for light bulbs to only 27 percent against.

  • In additional to federal action, 58 percent of voters would like the state government to require electric utilities like Detroit Edison and Consumers Energy to help their customers become more energy efficient. 

The survey also found that elected officials who attempt to weaken or delay energy efficiency standards could pay a price at the polls. Forty-eight percent of voters said they would oppose such efforts by their members of Congress at the polls to only 25 percent who would react favorably to those efforts.

In the first year of utility efficiency programs in Michigan, the reduction in demand totaled 375,000 mwh, enough to power more than 37,000 homes. The projection for this year is that the programs will reduce demand by twice that amount or about 750,000 mwh.

“The numbers show that we take energy efficiency seriously in Michigan---as we should, since it has created jobs and saved ratepayers a ton of cash,” said Michigan Sierra Club Director Anne Woiwode. “It’s time for the state legislature to catch up because we’ve only gotten to the low-hanging fruit. Silliness like the ‘dumb light bulb bill’ - which has the potential to cost Michiganders over $357 million every year - threatens to undo a lot of the good work that has been done.”

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 900 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.