Families in Tennessee use and pay more for electricity than most Americans. In fact, Tennessee ranks 45th in residential electricity bills with an average monthly bill of $129.
To put this in perspective, Arkansas, Kentucky and North Carolina’s monthly bills generally stay at $107, $118 and $121 per month, respectively.
“Tennessee families are paying more than most states because we’re using more,” Shanna Hughey, the president of ThinkTennessee, said.
ThinkTennessee, a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank dedicated to promoting pragmatic public policy solutions, compared Tennessee electricity policies to those of other states and encouraged community leaders and policy-makers to establish similar programs to help conserve energy.
Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE, for example, led to job creations, increased property values and higher business profits and in turn reduced operating costs. The program is allowed in 34 states and helps to finance energy-efficiency improvements to commercial and residential properties.
“PACE is really great because a lot of folks may not be able to afford the energy-efficiency upgrades for their homes,” Hughey said. “With PACE, you don’t have to invest all at one time and can even pay for it over time, but you’d start to see the benefits right away.
“If a Tennessee family decided to make energy-efficient decisions or changes, they could conserve and save money — 26 percent of energy use, which equates to hundreds of dollar per year, to be exact.”
So, why are Tennesseans spending more on electricity?
The policy and research director at ThinkTennessee, Mariana Rodriguez, said Tennessee’s high electric bills stem from an over-usage of electricity.
“It’s a behavioral pattern pertaining to how we use energy,” Rodriguez said. “We use a lot of air conditioning and may leave the lights on, and we don’t have access to solar or wind energy.”
By adopting similar programs to PACE, Tennesseans can conserve both energy and money while simultaneously creating new job opportunities.
“We believe that Tennessee policy should put people first,” Hughey said. “We need to ask ourselves what other states have done to conserve energy, and what we can do here at home to do the same.”
For more information, visit http://thinktennessee.org.