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We’re leading an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

Join our work today to help us build a thriving and just clean energy future. 

A Clean Electricity Performance Program is Affordable

CEPP uses federal investments to reduce energy burden and decrease customer utility bills over the coming decade.

Note: This blog is part of a three-part series (done in partnership with NRDC) on a Clean Electricity Performance Program and why it will drive an achievable, reliable, affordable transition to more clean electricity. If you’re looking for a quick primer on exactly what a CEPP is and how it works, read this first. This blog explains why a CEPP is affordable for utility customers. You can also read about why a CEPP is reliable and achievable.

Background: What Does the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) Do?

CEPP incentivizes every utility electricity supplier across the country to grow their share of carbon-free energy each year, from 2023-2030. Utilities that increase their clean energy by a certain percentage each year will receive a federal grant that must be used to benefit consumers and workers. To make these federal investments most effective and ensure the program’s integrity, each utility that does not achieve this annual rate of clean energy growth must make a payment to the federal government for every megawatt-hour (MWh) that it falls short.

Through this system of carrots and sticks, electric utilities will make rapid, steady progress toward a carbon-free electricity grid; driving clean energy development and job growth, reducing pollution for communities and the climate, and protecting customer energy bills.

And better yet? Independent economic analysis conducted by the Analysis Group found that implementation of a CEPP policy could expand the U.S. workforce by nearly 8 million jobs and the U.S. economy by nearly $1 trillion by 2030.

Why CEPP Is Affordable for Utility Customers

Bottom line: CEPP uses federal investments to reduce energy burden, and decrease customer utility bills over the coming decade.

Already, multiple studies have shown that a rapid transition to clean electricity will maintain affordable electricity for American customers. A meta-analysis conducted by Energy Innovation looked at 11 different studies examining the transition to 80% carbon-free power by 2030, and found projected wholesale electricity costs would be unimpacted. And this study did not examine the added benefits of CEPP investments.

Compared to other power sector policies that require utilities to use more clean energy but may pass some of these costs onto their ratepayers, the CEPP is designed to reduce customer costs. Under the program utilities must use 100% of their grant money for customer and worker benefit, including direct bill assistance, clean energy and energy efficiency investments, and supporting workers through changes in the energy system. Also, under the program, payments borne by utilities that fall short of annual clean energy targets must be paid by the utility’s shareholders and owners, not ratepayers. Utilities that leverage best practices, such as all-source competitive procurement, can reduce power costs still further.

If distributed evenly across customers, $150 billion in CEPP investments could reduce Americans’ electricity bills by 5%, compared to the same power sector transformation without federal grants. That’s equal to average household savings of $70/year and nearly $600 over the program. CEPP also provides consumer advocates, environmental organizations, and utility commissions the opportunity to use federal funding to reduce energy burden for low-income customers, through direct bill assistance and energy efficiency. 

Furthermore, transitioning to more carbon-free energy will bring massive economic benefits that will accrue through reduced pollution, better health outcomes, and avoided climate damages—which could be 5 to 9 times greater than the marginal cost of investment of moving towards 80% clean electricity in 2030.

Here's What You Can Do

We stand at a really critical moment. If federal lawmakers pass a well-designed CEPP and robust complementary investments this year, it could put the U.S. on a path to 80% clean electricity by 2030. This program is critical for our 100% clean energy future.

Congress must act now to pass the Clean Electricity Performance Program and the other critical climate investments in the Build Back Better Act. Call your members of Congress right now and let them know you support a CEPP. It only takes a minute, and we’ve got a script ready if you need it. Make the call now.

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