News Column

Begich Bills Tackle High Energy Costs, Would Bring Relief to Alaska Families

February 27, 2014

February 27, 2014

Contact: Heather Handyside (907) 350-4846

Begich Bills Tackle High Energy Costs, Would Bring Relief to Alaska Families

Combined Bills Would Save Alaska Homeowners Thousands in Home Heating Costs

Legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Mark Begich today will help Alaskans who are struggling with high energy costs by improving access to natural gas distribution grids and providing tax credits for more efficient home heating appliances.

"Alaska natural gas is the solution to sky-high heating costs and air pollution in Fairbanks, not more burdensome rules and regulations," said Begich. "By supporting the necessary investments in infrastructure, we can help fix this problem at the source and give our communities access to clean, low-cost energy for years to come."

For Alaskans, the two bills provide a pathway for eliminating costly fuel oil. Areas like Fairbanks and most of rural Alaska with energy costs greater than double the national average would be eligible for the two programs.

The two bills Begich introduced today are:

Fuel Grid Distribution Pilot Program Act - makes loan guarantees available for the fuel distribution grid through the USDA's Rural Utility Service.

Energy Efficient Heating and Cooling Tax Credit Act - will provide a tax credit of $5,000 for the purchase of efficient home space heating or water heating appliances using a range of clean fuel choices, like natural gas or biomass as well as home cooling appliances.

The average family in Fairbanks could save over $800 per year on fuel alone by switching from fuel oil to natural gas.

"These proposals will help get natural gas to more residents of Fairbanks and help rural areas make sure the price is right to convert their homes," said Begich. "And that's going to lower heating bills, keep more money in local economies, and improve air quality."

In areas like Fairbanks with extremely high energy costs, access to cheaper fuel distribution systems and efficient home heating appliances can help struggling families to live more comfortably and save money. Replacing old, inefficient appliances reduces fuel and saves the consumer money.

Devon Kearns

DC Press Secretary

Office of U.S. Senator Mark Begich

111 Russell

Tel: 202-224-9578

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Source: Congressional Documents & Publications

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