Bill aims to allow longer-term federal energy contracts

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) | Contributed photo
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) has teamed up with Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Dan Coats (R-IN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) to introduce legislation on Thursday that gives federal agencies greater ability to reduce energy use and save taxpayer dollars.

The bill, titled the Utility Energy Service Contracts Improvement Act of 2015, would permit federal agencies to enter into long-term contracts with utilities for energy-saving services. The contracts would provide agencies with more options to conserve energy and reduce costs.

“As the largest consumer of energy in the country, the federal government needs to do everything it can to save energy and taxpayer dollars,” Schatz said. “Our bipartisan legislation would expand opportunities to invest in energy efficiency and clean energy projects while saving money. I look forward to working with Senators Alexander, Coats and Coons to make this practical solution law.”

The act clarifies an existing law that allows federal agencies to enter into utility energy service contracts of up to 25 years, provided certain conditions are met.

“This legislation lets the federal government negotiate longer-term contracts with utilities, just as businesses would, to provide more certainty and reduce taxpayers’ energy costs," Alexander said.