Date: July 6, 2009
House Passes H.R. 2454, the
“American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009”
On June 26, 2009, the House passed H.R. 2454, the “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009,” by a vote of 219-212. Among other provisions, the legislation would modify existing law in efforts to improve energy efficiency, encourage creation of clean energy jobs, and reduce pollution.
The bill contains the following provisions of interest to SSA:
Net Metering for Federal Agencies
• Would require electric utility companies to make net metering available to Federal agencies. Under net metering standards, an agency's electrical charges under the bill would be offset by credits provided for electricity generated by the agency in-house (for example, electricity generated by solar panels or hydro-electric generators installed by the agency).
• Would require the servicing electric utility company to provide to the agency qualifying for net metering an electric energy meter capable of net metering and monitoring.
• Would prohibit the servicing electric utility company from making additional charges, including standby charges, for equipment or services for safety or performance that are in addition to those necessary to meet the other standards.
• Would be effective one year after enactment of the legislation.
Energy Refund Program
• Would establish an Energy Refund Program, to provide cash payments to reimburse low-income households for the increased cost of energy resulting from the legislation. Eligible households would include: 1) families under 150% of the poverty line, applicable to the size of the household; 2) households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; 3) households participating in the State Children's Health Insurance Program; 4) individuals receiving the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy, and, 5) individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income.
• Would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to work with the Commissioner of Social Security, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and State agencies, to ensure that low-income beneficiaries of the programs administered by these government entities receive the energy refund payments.
• Would require the Energy Information Administration to estimate the annual total loss in purchasing power that will result from the “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.” These estimates would serve as the basis for energy refund payment amounts.
• Would make the State agency of each participating State responsible for the certification of eligibility for energy refunds. The State would also be responsible for issuance of payments and program accountability.
• Would make the value of energy refund payments exempt from consideration as income or resources for income tax and public assistance purposes.
• Would be effective no later than two years following the enactment of the legislation.
Protection of Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds
• Would authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to periodically transfer general funds into the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, and the Federal Health Insurance Trust Fund, as needed in order to reimburse the funds for decreased revenue resulting from the provisions of this legislation. Amounts to be transferred would be determined by the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration (or the Chief Actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as applicable).