Senate Committee Advances Legislation to Strengthen the EmPOWER Maryland Program

Media Contacts
Emily Scarr

State Director, Maryland PIRG; Director, Stop Toxic PFAS Campaign, PIRG

Consumer, environmental and housing advocates applauded the vote today in the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee to advance legislation to strengthen the EmPOWER Maryland energy-efficiency program. The bill now heads to the full Senate for approval.

The measure, HB 864, would build on the program’s success in improving efficiency and lowering utility bills by aligning the program with the state’s climate goals and reducing pollution that poses health risks and contributes to climate change. 

Benefits of the bill include: 

  • Adding incentives to help Marylanders make the switch to efficient electric appliances and heating.
  • Reducing the cost of the program to ratepayers by rightsizing utility profits.
  • Helping low-income households take advantage of state and federal funds for energy efficiency and whole-home retrofits, including benefits for families living in large multifamily buildings.

“Updating EmPOWER Maryland means lower utility bills, warmer homes in winter, cooler homes in summer, and cleaner air for our families,” said Maryland PIRG Director Emily Scarr. “If we want to meet our state’s climate goals we have to invest in the efficiency of our buildings. We applaud the Senate committee for supporting this vital bill.”

Since 2008, EmPOWER Maryland has created projected lifetime savings of over $12.7 billion in energy costs — from an investment of $3.5 billion in efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of at least 9.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, equal to taking 2 million cars off the road for a year. The program provides Marylanders with free or discounted energy audits, weatherization, and efficient appliances and provides businesses with discounts and incentives for energy efficient upgrades.

The Senate Committee made amendments to HB864 in Committee which means the House of Delegates and Senate will need to work together to find agreement on final language, if the bill passes the Senate floor as is. 

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