CEA Newsletter
Issue 33

Message from CEA President David Holt
As 2009 draws to a close, Consumer Energy Alliance would like to thank all of our members and affiliate organizations for your support and tireless efforts in support of balanced energy policy. Now is also the time to look back at 2009 and evaluate our progress and share that with you.

This year saw CEA add 15 more affiliates to our alliance, which now includes 125 varied organizations – consumers, business, agriculture, industry, end-users, energy providers and suppliers.

Our consumer advocate membership has also skyrocketed, more than doubling in the past year from close to 100,000 people in 2009 to 265,000-plus currently.

We worked tirelessly with our affiliates, supporters and other stakeholders to promote a comprehensive and balanced national energy policy. We hosted our annual CEA Energy Day and Energy Forum in Washington, DC, released numerous publications related to energy issues affecting American consumers and participated in several key calls to action on energy policy and regulatory initiatives, including the development of a new Five Year Program for America’s offshore oil and gas resources.

While 2009 has certainly included major achievements, such as overwhelming support for development of American resources, the fight for a strong and secure national energy policy is far from over.

Therefore, CEA asks you, our members, to continue to act by sending letters, responding to calls to action and mobilizing others to act in favor of a national energy policy that will:

  • Allow for the responsible access to all domestic energy resources;
  • Accelerate the use of alternatives and renewable resources;
  • Improve efforts to encourage energy efficiency and conservation; and
  • Expand energy education funding and research.

As a consumer, the choices you make can have an impact. CEA is here to provide the resources and information you need to make informed decisions about energy use and conservation and to furnish you with the knowledge that you can help to make a difference. We want you to have a voice in the debate to help guarantee a safe and sound energy future for all of us.

Thank you for helping CEA empower America. We look forward to continuing our critical efforts with your support in 2010.

Happy holidays!

David Holt

Announcing the CEA Store – Perfect for Holiday Gifts!
In time for the holiday season, CEA has launched an online store complete with CEA and domestic energy development-themed merchandise. We’ve included many unique items that will appeal to every taste and budget, such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, bags, yard signs, buttons, mugs and even a doggie-sized T-shirt for your four-footed friend. Help CEA spread the word regarding the necessity of a balanced energy policy for America! Visit the CEA Store today.

Help Defeat Efforts to Ban North American Energy and Increase Prices at the Pump!
The Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is being sold to the American public as a way to blend transportation fuels with low-carbon alternatives so that tailpipe CO2 emissions can be reduced. But the fact is that affordable and reliable lower-carbon fuel options are not yet available. As a result, an LCFS simply will increase the cost of diesel fuel and gasoline and will place certain domestic supplies of transportation fuels off limits. Increasing the cost of transportation fuel and U.S. dependence upon foreign sources of petroleum is simply unsound energy policy.

Join our effort to defeat these measures, which would put an economic stranglehold on America and leave U.S. consumers stuck with higher prices at the pump. Send in your comments today!

CEA Blog: Cow Power
Check out CEA’s recent blog entry about farmers and their methods of turning waste from dairy cows into real power for home electricity.  Join the conversation at CEA’s website. Read blog…

Lowering Emissions Without Cap-And-Trade: A Programmatic Approach
By Tom Moskitis, Managing Director of External Affairs, American Gas Association

Climate Change is one of the top two issues of the current Administration and Majority Party in Congress. While most emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) come from electric power generation, transportation and industry, emissions from low volume residential and commercial natural gas consumers have been small in comparison.

In fact, from 1990 through 2005, emissions from these two sectors have been flat and emissions from the industrial sector have actually declined markedly. Residential natural gas consumers, all 60+ million of them, use 32 percent less natural gas today than they did in 1990. They are already doing their part for the environment and can be expected to do more.

Natural gas utilities in sixteen states have decoupled their rates and have undertaken substantial energy efficiency programs. Such a programmatic approach to reducing emissions, also involving building code advocacy, has been demonstrated to produce results without the imposition of a cap and trade system.

American Gas Association’s position on the climate change legislation now in Congress is as follows:

  • Natural gas is America’s clean, secure, efficient, and abundant fossil fuel.
  • Allocating allowances for the benefit of energy consumers – as favored in the bill from 2012 through 2030 – is the best way to protect these consumers from significantly higher energy bills as America transitions to a lower carbon energy future.
  • Natural gas utilities should be allocated 12% of allowances, and they should be phased out by 2040 rather than 2030.
  • All allowances allocated to natural gas local distribution companies should be used to benefit consumers, as required in the bill, but a mandatory one-third of this allocation directed towards energy efficiency programs is not necessary, is costly to consumers, and is inconsistent with the treatment of other similar industries.
  • Natural gas local distribution utilities generally support the planning and reporting requirements in the bill, although some greater state level latitude is recommended.
  • The formula for distributing allowances should be based on deliveries to non-covered entities.
  • Require full-fuel-cycle energy analysis in making energy efficiency determinations.
  • Grant parity in treatment of renewable natural gas burned for essential human needs with that granted to renewable natural gas used to make electricity.

Residential natural gas consumers, who use the fuel for essential human needs, have a 40-year record of reducing consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

History demonstrates that programmatic measures, such as appliance efficiency standards and building codes and standards, are most effective in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and AGA has a preference for such measures rather than a cap-and-trade approach.

Beyond the bills now in Congress, AGA advocates for the direct use of natural gas by the customer. Using gas directly for thermal applications such as space heating, water heating and cooking is a pathway to greater energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions. AGA was successful in getting a provision into pending legislation calling for a “carbon footprint” on appliance Energy Guide labels. Abundant information is available on the AGA website, including a link to a carbon calculator and information on Natural Gas Vehicles as well as on all the energy and environmental issues of the day.

The American Gas Association (AGA) is the national, nonprofit trade association serving over 200 investor-owned and municipal natural gas distribution utilities. AGA actively advocates for natural gas utilities, and the over 65 million homes and businesses that they serve, in Congress and before the Executive Branch of the Federal Government and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Consumer Corner: Save Energy This Holiday Season!
As you prepare for the holiday season, use a few of these easy, energy-efficient tips from the Environmental Protection Agency to save energy and reduce waste.

  1. Using a real tree? Contact your local community solid waste department for information on recycling. Alternatively, use a potted tree which can be planted.
  2. Unplug lights and decorations during the day to save energy and make your lights last longer.
  3. Look for holiday greeting cards made from recycled materials.
  4. Use reusable cloth shopping bags for toting holiday purchases rather than paper and plastic bags.
  5. Save gift wraps and ribbons for use on next year’s presents. Wrap presents for others in recycled trimmings you’ve saved.
  6. Use cloth napkins and reusable dishes and silverware for your holiday gatherings rather than disposable paper and plastics.
  7. Purchase rechargeable batteries for electronic gifts.
  8. Donate your children’s older or outgrown toys and books to charities and local libraries.

For more holiday energy saving tips, visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

Russia May Fund Energy Investment Projects in Iran
Russia and Iran, which together hold significant portions of the world’s natural gas and oil, may develop joint energy ventures in Iran according to a recent statement by Russia’s Energy Minister. Read article…

LED Light Bulbs Use Five Times Less Energy Than Standard Incandescent Bulbs According to Study
Osram, a German lighting company, recently published the results of a study that supports use of LED light bulbs over standard incandescent bulbs to save energy. Read article…

Affiliate Spotlight: American Gas Association
The American Gas Association represents 202 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States and serve tens of millions of consumers.

“There are more than 70 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which almost 93 percent — more than 171 million American — receive their gas from AGA members,” says Vice President of Communications and Marketing Laura Sheehan. “Our mission is to advocate for natural gas utility companies and their customers, and to provide a broad range of programs and services for member natural gas pipelines, marketers, gatherers, international natural gas companies and industry associates.”

AGA recognizes that energy is one of the most important issues in the nation today and that development of sound governmental policies that incorporate clean abundant fuels such as natural gas is critical.

“Energy affects every facet of our lives from traveling to work, to cooking and cleaning, to heating homes and making businesses run,” explains Sheehan. “For nearly a century natural gas has played a key role in making America a prosperous and secure nation, and it is now poised to play an even more important role in meeting the challenge of global climate change while ensuring increased energy efficiencies.

“While we know natural gas is abundant and capable of meeting a broad spectrum of energy demands, we must have increased access to this value-rich fuel in order to keep it affordable for all Americans. For this reason, AGA continues to work with Congress to pass balanced policies that take into account the very real need for increased supplies of traditional and unconventional resources.”

AGA is committed to increasing the domestic supply of natural gas and works actively to encourage legislation favorable to its development.

“The bottom line is this – increased use of this single fuel can help America achieve greater energy efficiency, energy independence, and create and retain jobs, all while making an immediate positive impact on the environment,” she emphasizes. “Simply put, natural gas is the cleanest burning of all the fossil fuels, emitting 45 percent less carbon dioxide than coal and 30 percent less than heating oil.”

“Natural gas is domestically abundant and production has been on the rise, particularly in the unconventional plays such as shale gas. But more conventional supply is needed to meet America’s growing demand, so legislators must allow more access to many of our most promising new natural gas supply areas.”

As a member of Consumer Energy Alliance, AGA’s goal is to facilitate educating consumers about energy awareness through CEA’s communications regarding the latest energy developments, trends and legislation initiatives.

“AGA believes that real, fundamental change starts at the ground level – and that’s what attracts us most to CEA,” Sheehan notes. “CEA’s grassroots approach to consumer education and advocacy is effective and powerful. Its thoughtful, non-partisan campaign to bring together consumers with the energy industry and with Congress will only increase understanding of the energy challenges we face today, which is a win for all involved.”

For more information on American Gas Association, visit www.aga.org.