What is EmPOWER?
The EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act of 2008 created the EmPOWER program to incentivize energy efficiency and conservation efforts. EmPOWER has improved energy efficiency, which has saved utility customers money, reduced pollution, and helped protect the environment.
Since 2008, EmPOWER has:
- Created lifetime savings of over $12.7 billion from an investment of $3.5 billion in efficiency.
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of at least 9.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, equal to taking 2 million cars off the road for a year.
- Provided Marylanders with free or discounted energy audits, weatherization, and efficient appliances and provided businesses with discounts and incentives for energy efficient upgrades.
Why do we need to updated EmPOWER?
The program has brought great change to Maryland by reducing energy consumption and lowering utility bills. Now we must ensure that the program is working adequately to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Transitioning Maryland households from gas to electric space heating and appliances is essential for achieving our state’s legislatively-enacted climate goals. EmPOWER Maryland, our longstanding energy efficiency program, needs to be updated to become an important tool for accomplishing this transition, including by setting a goal for greenhouse gas emissions reductions, not just energy efficiency.
By reforming the program during the 2024 legislative session, we can ensure that EmPOWER delivers on its promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and align with the state's climate goals.
Our Priorities for EmPOWER Reform in 2024
- Set pollution reduction targets & measure results based on greenhouse gas reductions, aligning the program with the state’s climate goals.
- Expand EmPOWER’s successful discounts and rebates for energy audits, weatherization and efficient appliances by adding new incentives for efficient, electric appliances and heating – enabling fuel switching from gas, propane, and oil to electric (including heat pumps).
- Expand access for low-income households to state and federal funds for energy efficiency and whole-home retrofits by enabling fuel switching and hiring multilingual community outreach specialists.
- Delivers savings directly to Maryland households by encouraging utilities to invest in in-home improvements and requiring them to achieve 80% of goals from in-home savings.
- Increase transparency and accountability for utilities’ plans, costs, and profits.
- Stop spending ratepayer dollars on subsidies for polluting gas appliances and home heating.
Updating the EmPOWER program is one of the Sierra Club’s three legislative priorities for the 2024 session. To win this year, we need YOU to lift your voice and let your legislators and communities know why this important issue matters to you.