09/18/14 : Reed Brown

Alliance Honorary Vice-Chairs Introduce Resolutions In Support of CBO Scoring Reform

Even in an election year, improving federal energy efficiency is an issue that politicians from both sides of the aisle can embrace. Identical bipartisan resolutions were introduced today in the House and Senate urging a change in the scoring practice used by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to evaluate energy efficiency performance contracts. These resolutions, S.Res.562 and H.Res.737, were introduced by Alliance Honorary Vice-Chair Chris Coons (D-DE) and Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) in the Senate and by Alliance Honorary Vice-Chair Peter Welch (D-VT) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) in the House, and have 49 total sponsors including Alliance Honorary Vice-Chairs McKinley (R-WV), Kinzinger (R-IL), Shaheen (D-NH), Portman (R-OH), Collins (R-ME), Wyden (D-OR) and Markey (D-MA).

Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Service Contracts (UESCs) are proven and cost-effective contractual vehicles for federal agencies to reduce energy consumption. The federal government is the single largest energy consumer in the United States, and federally-owned buildings represent approximately 1% of nationwide energy consumption and 1/3 of total government energy consumption. This means there is significant energy-saving potential in efficiency retrofits. In fact, the President has committed $4.7 billion for energy efficiency performance contracts to date.

However, the use of these performance contracts has been severely limited in recent years because of how CBO evaluates these contracts. While the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), under both Democratic and Republican Administrations, has accounted for ESPCs and UESCs as budget neutral, recent attempts by Congress to include, or even imply, the use of energy efficiency performance contracts in legislation has triggered a monetary score against the federal budget.

The Federal Performance Contracting Coalition (FPCC) and the Alliance to Save Energy (Alliance), along with many other interest groups have worked to raise the awareness of this issue in the hopes that it may be successfully resolved. Improving energy efficiency in the federal government is one of the key recommendations in the Alliance’s Energy 2030 campaign.

The FPCC, Alliance and all of our partners commend the sponsors of these resolutions for taking this important step towards facilitating widespread deployment of energy efficiency performance contracts across the federal government. We look forward to working with Congress and our partners in the energy efficiency community to promote this and other common sense energy efficiency policies.