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Experts: Biden’s Build Back Better Act Could Help Consumers Save on Energy


Thursday, November 18, 2021   

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Energy experts say the expanded rebates and tax credits proposed in President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act could potentially save consumers up to $500 a year on household energy costs.

House Democrats said they are intent on passing Biden's comprehensive climate and social-spending package this week.

Elgie Holstein, senior director for strategic planning at the Environmental Defense Fund, said the bill is expected to help bring down the cost of electricity by strengthening the nation's electrical grid.

"So that we have more efficiency and less loss of energy and electricity," Holstein explained. "That will mean lower cost for utilities, and lower cost for consumers over a period of years."

According to 2020 research by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, low-income, Black, Hispanic and Native American households nationwide typically spend a greater portion of their income on energy bills compared with the average household. Opponents of the Build Back Better Act, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., argued the plan is too expensive, would increase taxes, and does not address inflation issues.

Holstein agreed consumers and lawmakers are right to be concerned about inflation, but he believes investing in clean energy and the nation's infrastructure will help alleviate spikes in the cost of food, gas and consumer goods.

"Both the Build Back Better bill and the infrastructure legislation that the president has signed into law, both of them will have the impact of bringing down inflation over time," Holstein asserted.

Holstein also pointed out federal rebates for more efficient home appliances such as furnaces, water heaters and HVAC systems will mean homeowners will spend less on utilities.

"The rebates, which you'll be able to cash in on right at the appliance dealer, will enable you to make a purchase of some of the newest, most energy-efficient appliances that over the long term are going to save hundreds of dollars for the people who are able to take advantage of this new program," Holstein contended.

According to the Biden administration, the Build Back Better Act includes grants and loans to specifically help rural residents tap into clean-energy opportunities. The bill also would cut the cost of installing rooftop solar for a home by around 30%, and the electric vehicle tax credit will lower the cost of an electric vehicle by more than $12,000.

Disclosure: Environmental Defense Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice, Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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