A bill to allow a pause in a demand side management program called Energizing Indiana passed the Senate 37-8 on Monday.
Supporters of Senate Bill 340 said that the current DSM program is not energy efficient and needs to be “paused” by the end of 2014. The bill’s author, Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, said the current program will be studied in 2015 to determine whether or not it is effective.
“This legislation simply pauses an extremely expensive program that may not generate the benefits,” Merritt said.
Although Merritt also said that the program has “saved $2 for every dollar spent” he said those savings were only achieved from using light bulbs and pipe wrapping to help save energy.
Opponents of the bill said a halt in the program will only hurt Indiana’s environment and businesses because they feel the current program is effective.
“This is the kind of program that demand side management is trying to support and encourage,” said Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis. “And instead of doing that, we’re making it more difficult for people to participate in programs that will reduce the amount of energy said.”
Merritt said the pause in the current program will not harm job growth.
“This program that we have now creates jobs. We will still have energy efficiency programs that will continue,” he said. That means jobs. Perhaps they’ll be with a different company, but they will exist.”
The bill now heads to Gov. Mike Pence for approval.
Andi TenBarge is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.