Expansion will save homeowners and businesses million

MADISON — In a move that will help keep energy bills affordable, the Joint Finance Committee voted today to approve a plan to expand Focus on Energy, the state’s energy efficiency program that has saved homeowners and businesses over $900 million since its inception in 2001.

“Focus on Energy is a highly successful program with a proven track record of reducing energy bills, creating jobs, and helping protect our environment,” said Keith Reopelle, senior policy director at Clean Wisconsin. “This program has helped Wisconsin businesses and homeowners save hundreds of millions of dollars and the expansion approved today will ensure that even greater savings are realized.”

Focus on Energy is a statewide program dedicated to reducing energy use and energy bills. For every $1 invested in Focus on Energy to date, homeowners and businesses have saved $2.50. Since 2001, more than 2 million Wisconsin businesses and residents have participated in Focus on Energy, and participation has been steadily rising.

After more than two years of study, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) voted in November to increase investment in Focus on Energy and set new targets that together would decrease energy use 1.5 percent annually by 2014. The Joint Finance Committee’s vote today makes the PSC’s plan law, and this approval ensures that even more residents and business owners will see bill-reducing energy savings.

“Expanding Focus on Energy makes sense in these tough economic times because it will help homeowners and businesses reduce energy bills and insulate them from the rising costs of fossil fuels,” said Reopelle.

The vote comes one day after the corporate lobbyists, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, attacked the expansion and asked the Joint Finance Committee to stop the measure.

“It is counterintuitive that WMC chose to attack the expansion of a successful, time-tested program that delivers energy savings and keeps energy bills affordable for many of the group’s members,” said Reopelle. “Today’s vote is a victory for residents and businesses across the state, including many of WMC’s members.”