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For Immediate Release:
July 12, 2017

Contact: James Owen
(417) 496-1924
james@renewmo.org

Low-Income Energy Efficiency Bill Signed Into Law

COLUMBIA, MO – On July 11th, Governor Eric Greitens signed Senate Bill 112 into law after the House and Senate passed the bill with overwhelming bi-partisan support. The legislation will allow for recipients of Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to participate in energy efficiency programs offered by the state’s largest utilities: Ameren Missouri and Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L).

Prior to the bill’s passage, participants in the State’s LIHTC program were unable to take advantage of utility incentives that were specifically developed to make low-income multifamily housing more efficient. The restriction dated back to the passage of the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act (MEEIA) in 2009, but its original purpose was unclear. Advocates contend that the legislative change will benefit 57,000 households across Missouri by providing greater access to energy efficiency incentives for low-income renters, who have the most to gain from energy savings.

The bill passed both the House and the Senate on the last day of Legislative Session, after over two years of continued urging from advocates like Renew Missouri, a statewide policy group dedicated to advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency. Renew Missouri said in a statement: “We are extremely happy about this legislative fix and the continued progress of energy efficiency in Missouri. Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to permanently reduce energy costs, and low-income Missourians should see the benefits of utility efficiency programs as well.”

Both Ameren Missouri and KCP&L supported the change in order help ensure they can meet their own energy efficiency program goals. Utility measures and incentives for multifamily low-income properties consist of LED bulbs, low flow faucet aerators and showerheads, along with larger whole-building measures such as HVAC systems, hot water heaters, insulation, and window replacements.

In bi-partisan style, Representative Bryan Spencer (R-Wentzville) and Senator Jason Holsman (D-Kansas City) worked with Renew Missouri to get the bill across the finish line. Numerous advocates and affected groups testified in support of the bill in committee hearings, including the Kansas City Office of Environmental Quality, Arnold Development Group, Renew Missouri, and others.

Housing advocates like Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation (TGNCDC) and the St. Louis Community Builders Network provided valuable education for St. Louis building owners on the bill’s importance. Dana Gray, Community Development Outreach Coordinator for TGNCDC said: “I would like to thank all those who wrote letters in support of removing the LIHTC restriction. We should also recognize the importance of this measure for effective community development throughout the state of Missouri.”

James Owen, the newly hired Executive Director for Renew Missouri, stated: “We are excited about Governor Greitens and the Legislature’s support. This is a prime example that Jefferson City can accomplish a lot if it sits down and works together.”

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