03.02.15

Gardner, Coons Fight for Energy Efficiency

Washington, D.C. – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced today that he is urging the Senate Budget Committee to address a long-standing budgetary practice which threatens beneficial legislation on Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Service Contracts (UESCs). ESPCs and UESCs are innovative public-private partnerships in which private companies bear the cost of making energy-efficiency upgrades to federal buildings in exchange for a portion of the savings that come from the decrease in energy and utility costs.                                                                                          

Currently, the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) cost estimates do not properly account for the savings that are created by ESPCs and UESCs, and therefore fail to recognize the full benefits of these contracts. Instead, CBO estimates view these contracts as having a net negative impact on the budget, even though the contracts save taxpayers money. The Executive Branch’s budget office, the Office of Management and Budget, disagrees with the CBO’s methods and more accurately assesses the benefits of these contracts.

Senator Gardner, along with Senator Coons (D-DE), is sending a letter to the Senate Budget Committee urging them to address ESPC and UESC scoring issues during the upcoming Budget Resolution discussions or through other similar avenues. 

The letter reads, in part:

ESPCs and UESCs provide the federal government with a vital alternative financing mechanism. These long-term contracts enable agencies to procure energy services and projects without relying solely on appropriated funds. At no added cost to the government, ESPCs and UESCs assist agencies and installations in reducing their energy intensity and improving their energy efficiency. These innovative contracts also require the assurance of financial savings in the agreement.  Since their inception in 1992, ESPCs and UESCs have achieved over $13 billion in energy savings across the federal government…

…Bipartisan and bicameral efforts are underway to help resolve the divide between CBO and OMB scoring practices in order to promote these alternative financing opportunities at the federal level.  We urge you to address ESPC and UESC scoring issues in the Budget Resolution or other avenues.  This scoring anomaly has hindered bipartisan legislation that could reduce federal energy expenditures permanently.

Click HERE to read the letter in its entirety.

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