SWEEP praises Colorado legislators for adopting legislation to strengthen gas utility energy efficiency programs

May 27, 2021

Josh Valentine, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) | jvalentine@swenergy.org


[BOULDER, CO] – On May 27th, the Colorado legislature passed HB21-1238, a bill that updates state policy on gas utility demand-side management (DSM) and energy efficiency programs. Lead sponsors of the bill are Representatives Tracey Bernett (D-Longmont) and Chris Kennedy (D-Lakewood) in the House and Senator Chris Hansen (D-Denver) in the Senate.

The bill directs the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to:

  • Establish energy savings targets for gas utility energy efficiency programs based on the maximum cost-effective and achievable level of energy savings;
  • ensure that gas utilities devote at least 25 percent of residential program expenditures to programs or measures targeted to low income households;
  • include the social cost of carbon and methane emissions in the cost effectiveness analysis of natural gas energy efficiency programs;
  • discount future customer costs and utility bill savings recognized by customers at the long-term rate of inflation rather than at the utility’s cost of capital;
  • require use of contractors that participate in recognized apprenticeship programs for gas-saving projects implemented by larger commercial buildings that receive rebates directly from utilities; and
  • approve natural gas revenue-sales decoupling if this policy is proposed by a regulated gas utility.

“HB21-1238 will cut energy waste, lower natural gas use, and help Colorado meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets. It complements other legislation aimed at reducing climate-warming emissions associated with energy use in buildings, which we urge the legislature to approve as well,” said Elise Jones, Executive Director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP).

SWEEP estimates that gas customers will realize net economic benefits of around $600-700 million from energy efficiency programs implemented during 2022-30 as a result HB21-1238 passing. In addition, the bill will should cut GHG emissions in Colorado by about 300,000 tons of CO2-equivalent in 2025 and 800,000 tons in 2030.

“HB21-1238 should lead to new and expanded energy efficiency programs implemented by Colorado’s four regulated gas utilities, which in turn will help customers realize greater gas savings and lower utility bills,” said Howard Geller, Senior Policy Advisor to SWEEP.

HB21-1238 was supported by the Colorado Energy Office and a wide range of consumer, business, environmental, clean energy advocacy, and labor organizations. SWEEP applauds the bill sponsors and organizations that supported the bill as it was being developed and heard by the legislature, and urges Governor Polis to sign the bill into law.


The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is a public interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. For more information, visit swenergy.org.