Dear Chairmen Manchin and Pallone, and Ranking Members Barrasso and McMorris Rodgers: We, the undersigned, urge you to support the Main Street Efficiency Act (MSEA), vital legislation introduced by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) in the Senate and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) in the House. MSEA would provide direct energy efficiency investments into America’s small businesses to significantly lower operational expenses through a reduction in energy costs, saving participants up to 30% on their monthly utility bills. Electricity and natural gas costs are among the top recurring expenses after real estate and labor and are “much more of a burden for the smallest compared to larger small businesses.” Critically, the legislation would prioritize utilization of diverse suppliers, and targets investments in minority and women-owned businesses.
According to ENERGY STAR, small businesses across the United States spend more than $60 billion a year on energy expenses and can save up to 30% through energy efficiency solutions, or $18 billion annually. Utilities across the United States offer demand side management programs (DSM) to help offset the cost of energy efficiency investments, but these programs only partially cover total project amount, often ranging from 35% to 65%. Even in the best of times, notwithstanding existing incentives, many small businesses are unable to afford DSM program participation due to lack of capital or credit. MSEA would match existing utility incentives, leveraging nonfederal investment, and allowing small businesses to receive energy efficiency upgrades at significantly reduced or no costs.