Rebate Residents Get For Making Homes Energy Efficient at Risk

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A bill that recently passed the Iowa Senate could take away the rebate residents get from utility companies like MidAmerican Energy for making their homes energy efficient.

On Tuesday, Abraham LaMark, owner of L&L Home Solutions, cleared his schedule to talk about how the energy efficient bill would impact him. If passed, LaMark said his schedule will always be clear.

“There would be no livelihood. The company would cease to exist. It’s what we do," said LaMark.

His business installs energy efficient appliances and walks homeowners through the rebate process.

“My guys, the crew, we have been insulating people’s homes since 2008 and all of our work comes from the MidAmerican rebate program," LaMark said.

If the bill passes, it would cap the money going into energy efficiency programs, which means there wouldn't be enough to support a rebate program. LaMark said this would hurt his business as well as homeowners.

“When you have a rebate program going on, it makes it a lot more affordable and helps out the homeowner," LaMark said.

The Iowa Business Energy Coalition represents large utility companies and backs the part of the bill that allows these companies to opt out of an efficiency program.

“They are very concerned about the amount that they pay on their electric bill, which is almost 10% of their total electric bill that is going to these programs,” IBEC Lobbiest Paula Dierenfeld said.

The IBEC agrees the bill has a somewhat negative impact on residential and commercial businesses, but says it is a step in the right direction for large utility companies.

“From the perspective of our clients, they are paying millions into the program, they don’t receive those dollars back because they are already being as energy efficient as they possibly can be," IBEC lobbyist Paula Dierenfeld said.

LaMark hopes legislators can come to an agreement that's fair for both large and small businesses and Iowa homeowners. People who oppose the bill say it could lay off 21,000 Iowans who work in the energy efficiency space.