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Clean Energy Bill Passed; Wells Amendment Saves DC Dollars PDF Print E-mail
Written by Charles Allen   
Wednesday, 02 July 2008

Councilmember Wells Praises Council Action on Clean Energy; Adds Key Amendment to Allow Submetering in Commercial Buildings

Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells today praised Council’s action to give initial approval to the “Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008” as amended to allow for submetering in commercial buildings. The bill is up for final passage on July 15, 2008.

“The debate over whether global warming is real is over,” stated Mr. Wells. “The demand for renewable energy choices is growing.  People want more of their energy to come from clean sources and the clean energy market has been responding,” he added.

The Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 is targeted to address the challenges faced with increasing energy demands and works to change the environment of the District for shifting to clean energy sources.

Councilmember Wells successfully offered an amendment to allow submetering in commercial buildings. Through this provision, owners and managers would be allowed to submeter their commercial buildings so their tenants are charged directly for the level of energy they use, rather than being charged based on a building-wide average. Mr. Wells noted that only the District and state of Mississippi prohibit submetering of commercial buildings.

Explained Wells, “Without submetering, tenants of a building don’t get any credit for saving energy. No matter what they do, they are forced to pay for the energy used by the others in the building, regardless of their own actions. The current system penalizes businesses who try to save energy, and encourages the waste of energy, driving up the cost of rent for everybody.”

The amendment has the potential to save the District $1.5 million in energy costs per year. The city pays almost $75 million annually in energy costs. Today, in many cases, the District government can’t reduce its own energy bills through increased conservation or efficiency.  In buildings where the District rents space, the city pays for energy as part of their rent, and can’t receive a reduced bill when they reduce their energy use. Commented Wells, “It’s the intention of this legislation to make the city a leader in the sustainable use of energy – I’d like to make sure the District government is taking the lead as well.”

When the legislation was passed in committee, Councilmember Wells also successfully moved an amendment requiring the Public Services Commission to outline new ways of providing affordable financing options to energy consumers and link those payments for renewable energy technologies through their utility bill as a way to make these choices more affordable.


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