The big turnaround: 'This is huge'

One of Philly’s leading energy-efficiency advocates tells Earth to Philly that the planet has a friend in Pennsylvania now that the state legislature has passed House Bill 2200.

The governor is expected to sign it soon, committing us all to conserving electricity. Liz Robinson, the normally reticent executive director of the nonprofit Energy Coordinating Agency in Philly, called late Thursday afternoon to tell me, “This is huge.”

HB 2200 only calls for a 3% decrease in the electricity that’s generated by utility companies and a 4.5% cut in customers’ peak power demands. But those numbers are substantial, Robinson said—-especially since usage has been going up by about 1.5% a year.

“It’s going to start an amazing transformation,” she said. “It’s important for people to know that the state’s finally doing something."

By Robinson’s reckoning, the new initiative puts PA into the top tier of states, as far as commitment to energy conservation goes. “This will get us out of the basement,” she said. “We’ve been next to Mississippi.”