New Poll Reveals Nearly 75% of Ohio Voters Support the Use and Expansion of Energy Efficiency Technologies

In Run-up to Governor’s Energy Summit, Majority of Ohioans Wants State Government and Utilities to Help Customers Become More Energy Efficient

CHICAGO, IL (September 15, 2011) – Ohio 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. The polling shows strong support for energy efficiency policy in the run-up to Governor Kasich’s Ohio Economic and Energy Summit next week in Columbus. The meeting will bring together a diverse array of energy policy and business experts to help inform long-term energy policy.

“Energy efficiency isn’t just good business, it is good politics,” said Henry Henderson, director of the Midwest program for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Ohioans support both federal and state actions that help drive the market toward greater energy efficiency, creating jobs and keeping Ohio competitive in the global economy. As the Governor and other Ohio policymakers hit the energy policy ‘reset button,’ this polling should make it clear that it is time to redouble their commitment to energy efficiency.”

Some of the poll’s notable findings include:

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

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

  • In fact, 61 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 80 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of independents, and 68 percent of Republicans supporting energy efficiency standards.

  • Voters strongly support the federal government setting minimum energy efficiency standards for various household products with 61 percent in favor for appliances to only 29 percent opposed; and 60 percent in favor for light bulbs to only 32 percent against.

  • In addition to federal action, 60 percent of voters support state government standards, like those in Ohio’s Senate Bill 221, that require electric utilities like Duke Power, AEP, and Dayton Power & Light to help their customers become more energy efficient.

According to NRDC analysis, the energy efficiency programs deployed by these three utilities in 2009 and 2010 will save customers $351 million over the installed devices’ lifetimes, more than $4 in savings for every $1 the utility invested.

The survey also found that elected officials who attempt to weaken or delay energy efficiency standards could pay a price at the polls. Forty-five percent of voters said they would oppose such efforts by their members of Congress at the polls while only 29 percent who would react favorably to those efforts.

“Energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest and fastest way to reduce energy use and cut pollution,” said Julian Boggs, State Policy Advocate for Environment Ohio. “This poll confirms what we’ve known for a long time: Ohioans support common sense solutions for our energy future. It’s high time that our public policy reflected the common sense of the people.”

“Energy efficiency investments are critical to rebuilding Ohio’s economy,” noted Dave Rinebolt, executive director of Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy.  The value of the energy saved stays in the state and efficiency is very employment intensive.  Our statewide network of nonprofit agencies have hired and trained more than 700 new employees in the past two years to deliver expanded efficiency programs.”

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 816 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.