Full Title: Energy Efficiency for Everyone: How to Supercharge EmPOWER Maryland
Author(s): Emily Scarr, Bryn Huxley-Reicher and Elizabeth Ridlington
Publisher(s): Maryland PIRG Foundation and Frontier Group
Publication Date: February 15, 2023
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The Empower Maryland Energy Efficiency Act of 2008 has done a lot to improve energy efficiency in Maryland – saving utility customers money, reducing pollution and helping protect the environment. But now, a decade and a half after it was first adopted, the programs that resulted from it can and should be updated to meet more of the state’s needs and better serve Marylanders. With smart reforms, the next iteration of EmPOWER Maryland can achieve greater total energy and financial savings, better serve limited-income Marylanders, and deliver even more environmental and public health benefits.
Maryland utilities are leaving energy savings on the table. Current EmPOWER incentives undermine Maryland’s climate protection goals and fail to encourage electrification of buildings, which is essential for cutting climate pollution. EmPOWER’s programs targeted at limited-income consumers, which are run by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), deliver only limited savings. With better design, EmPOWER could deliver greater energy savings for everyone. This report suggests measures to help the General Assembly and the Public Service Commission to meet the needs of the moment and to do more for the environment and all Marylanders.