Published February 10, 2020
For decades, Minnesota utilities have been required by law to help their customers save energy through the Conservation Improvement Program. Utilities offer rebates on efficient appliances, discounted home energy audits, and more to help people and businesses lower their energy bills. Consumers’ conservation, in turn, saves money for everyone. It reduces the need for power generation, less pollution is produced, and it supports a lot of jobs in energy efficiency. Minnesota utilities have operated these programs for decades with proven success.
However, many Minnesotans in rural areas don’t have full access to these conservation opportunities. More than 15% of Minnesota households heat with propane, fuel oil, or something else other than natural gas or electricity provided by a major utility. That means that they can’t get rebates on efficient furnaces, insulation and air sealing, water heaters, and more. At the same time, people who depend on propane or fuel oil generally face higher heating bills because of the costs of these fuels. Their bills can be quite unpredictable, as the price of delivered fuels can fluctuate enormously over the winter months.
Delivered fuels customers could benefit greatly from access to conservation opportunities similar to their counterparts who live in larger towns and cities.
That’s why CUB is advocating for a Rural Access Conservation Program that will ensure that everyone in the state, regardless of geography and energy source, can access the financial benefits of energy conservation.
We are in discussions with legislators from both parties to move this bill forward. Stay tuned for more updates!