Public Policy Research Education and Advocacy




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            Contact: David Hughes

June 18, 1997                                                                                                    412/421-6072





            Pittsburgh, June 18—Consumer and environmental watchdog Citizen Power joins other Pennsylvania environmental groups in calling on Governor Ridge to “earn or return” the energy-efficiency award presented to him today by the U.S. Energy Association.  The award was given to the Governor in Washington, D.C. because of Pennsylvania’s enactment of the Electric Generation and Customer Choice Act.


            “It is amazing,” said David Hughes, Executive Director of Citizen Power. “The new law says nothing about the efficient use of energy and yet Governor Ridge gets the ‘energy efficiency award’ from a business group that stands to make money from electric competition.”


            According to Joseph Minott, Esq., the Executive Director of the Clean Air Council, “The Act may actually encourage more inefficient use of energy as competitors vie for greater market share, offering incentives to the customer to buy more of their products.”  The Act also discourages the building of new, more efficient power plants.


            The Public Utility Commission is now making rules to implement the Act and so far has avoided dealing with energy efficiency and renewable energy issues.


            “Governor Ridge and the legislative leadership blew an historic opportunity to begin resolving longstanding energy issues in Pennsylvania, “ Hughes said. The new law should have encouraged increased use of efficiency technologies and renewable sources to help displace dirty and uneconomic generation. Instead it may make things worse and Ridge gets an award for that. Go figure,” concluded Hughes.


            There is still time for Governor Ridge and the PUC commissioners to implement measures that will halt the continued degradation of our environment. The transition to retail competition gives Pennsylvania a historic opportunity to change the way we use energy and to make energy efficiency and renewable power part of the mix. Citizen Power calls on Governor Ridge to live up to the award he has been given today and begin to take advantage of this window of opportunity. Failing this, the Governor should return the award with the admission that he really hasn’t done anything to deserve this award.