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Consumer group touts financial benefits of energy efficiency

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A new report by the Consumer Federation of America touts the consumer benefits of climate and energy legislation, predicting household savings if “strong energy efficiency policies” are adopted.

Such efficiency-heavy legislation could save Hoosier families $424 a year, said Washington, D.C.-based CFA in “Building on the Success of Energy Efficiency Programs to Ensure an Affordable Energy Future.”

But opponents of energy/climate change legislation—which has predominantly been in the form of so-called cap-and-trade legislation—aren’t convinced.

Jim Rogers, CEO of Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy, the largest electric supplier in Indiana, warned previously that electric bills could soar 40 percent in some areas under cap-and-trade scenarios being batted about last year.

Indiana would take a disproportionate beating because nearly 95 percent of electricity in the state is generated by coal. Utilities serving the state would be forced to buy allowances to emit CO2 and/or to invest in alternative generation such as wind or even nuclear power.

CFA says an energy policy more focused on energy efficiency could reduce overall energy use up to 30 percent, as well as create jobs.

“Cap-and-trade has monopolized the headlines. But given its stellar record of success, it’s time for senators to view energy efficiency as a cornerstone of the nation’s climate and energy policy,” said Mark Cooper, research director for CFA.

“Consumers are letting hundreds of dollars a year slip through their fingers, money they can hardly afford to waste,” said Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council.

But the Congressional Budget Office estimated that a 15-percent reduction in emissions would cause prices to rise to the tune of 3.3 percent of after-tax income for the lowest income household—or about $680 a year.

The effects on the middle class could mean an income hit of 2.7 percent to 2.9 percent, or about $880 to $1,500 a year, said the CBO.

Such numbers don’t mean much, however, until Congress comes up with a plan. Early this month, the Senate began reviving energy legislation efforts put on the back burner by health care reform.

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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