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Relating to authorizing certain alternative fuel programs as eligible for local government energy savings performance contracts.
HB 1184, if passed, would make a small change to the Local Government Code (Section 302.001) by adding another activity to those which are eligible for “energy savings performance contracts”, namely alternative fuel programs for local government vehicle fleets.
The contracts in question can be entered into by local governments to provide for financing of environmental projects (in the form of physical improvements of infrastructure and other physical assets) which are guaranteed to produce future savings in energy or water use. These savings must be measurable and verifiable by such means as billing revenues or meter accuracy.
Though efforts to conserve energy and water are indeed laudable goals it is our view that “energy savings performance contacts” are unnecessary. If a given improvement will indeed produce future savings, then the program is already economically viable. For example, if the first two improvements listed by the bill, installation of insulation and storm windows, are likely to “pay for themselves” then the existence of energy saving contracts is redundant. If, on the other hand, such improvements do not yield a real benefit then the program is merely a waste of money. In either case the program is inherently unnecessary.
Despite our misgivings about the wisdom of the underlying program, we do support the provisions of the bill that require savings under any such contracts to be measurable and verifiable. For this reason we are neutral on this bill relating to a program we do not support.