National Press Club Remarks Prepared for Energy Secretary Bodman
October 3, 2005
Autumn has arrived, which to many people means falling leaves. At the Department of Energy, however, we think of something else falling: temperatures. Cooler weather is on its way, and the winter heating season is just around the corner.
Because of increasing demand for energy and the damage inflicted upon America’s energy infrastructure in the gulf Coast region by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Americans can expect to see higher costs to heat and power our homes, schools, and places of business.
Last week President Bush called on all Americans to look for ways to conserve energy. Energy efficiency and conservation has been part of my Department’s mission since its inception. But the need to use energy more wisely is particularly acute this year because of the higher prices we expect to see.
We wanted to come here today to let the public know that there are easy, sensible steps consumers can take to lower the monthly bills they pay for energy.
So I am proud to announce that the Department of Energy is launching a National Campaign called “Easy Ways to Save Energy” to help American families and businesses better deal with limited supplies and rising energy prices this winter.
We are introducing a three-pronged strategy aimed at energy efficiency and conservation measures for consumers, for business and industry, and for government facilities as well.
For consumers, we will be distributing our “Energy $avers Guide” nationwide. This guide contains dozens of easy, and often inexpensive, ways to help consumers save energy in their homes and to lower utility bills. It covers everything from insulation and caulking, to more efficient lighting, to smarter use of your thermostat. Copies are available for all of you to take today. The Guide may also be accessed online at energysavers.gov.
We are also making this guide available to manufacturers, retailers, and local utilities to reprint and distribute widely.
In addition, the Department of Energy and the Alliance to Save Energy are unveiling a series of radio public service announcements to counsel consumers on easy tips to save energy and gasoline. These PSAs have been recorded in both English and Spanish, and will be distributed to nearly 4,500 radio stations across the country.
Our Energy Savings radio spots will complement DOE’s ongoing partnership with the Ad Council, the Alliance to Save Energy, the Home Depot, and the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) on the Energy Hog campaign.
The Energy Hog is a character who educates the public through radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, and the web, much like other Ad Council creations Smokey Bear or McGruff the Crime Dog. In this case, the Energy Hog informs consumers about the hazards of wasting energy in our everyday activities. You’ll soon begin to see the ads for the next phase of the Energy Hog campaign in newspapers and magazines, as well as on billboards all over the country.
Of course, it’s not just consumers who can – and should – save energy.
America’s businesses, factories, and manufacturing facilities use massive amounts of energy. To help them during this period of tightening supply and rising costs, our Department is sending teams of qualified efficiency experts to 200 of the nation’s most energy-intensive factories. Our Energy Saving Teams will work with on-site managers on ways to conserve energy and use it more efficiently.
Finally, if the government is going to ask the American public and industry to undertake these measures, then we should do the same. So I am proud to announce that the Department will also deploy similar teams of energy efficiency experts to federal government facilities around the country to identify quick and easy ways to save energy this winter. These teams will help federal agencies and departments fulfill the President’s directive that they conserve natural gas, electricity, gasoline, and diesel fuel to the maximum extent possible, consistent with the effective discharge of the federal government’s duties.
In the coming months, I and others in the senior leadership at the Department of Energy will travel the country to deliver this important message about the wise and efficient use of energy this winter.
As you know, the President recently signed legislation that will help encourage production, diversify our supplies of energy and promote energy efficiency. We look forward to working with Congress on other important energy measures in the coming months. All of these steps are important, but they will need time to bear fruit. Conserving energy and implementing important efficiency measures right now, however, are steps that all of us can take to make a difference today.
I can’t stress that last point enough. Individual action from every American can add up to a tremendous collective effort, and can produce significant results.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is an ambitious agenda, but not overly so. I am confident that by taking smart and responsible action to use energy more wisely, we can be successful in minimizing the pain caused by high energy prices this winter.