Legislators in the Nevada Assembly and Senate are moving forward with bills that could save Nevada businesses and residents money on their power bills – and help build the Silver State’s clean-energy economy.

Assembly Bill 223, which will receive a hearing in the Assembly Subcommittee on Energy today, March 1, this evening, would provide for new and extended energy-efficiency measures for small businesses, seniors and others on fixed incomes, and low-income homeowners and renters. Some consumers could reduce their power bills by half, while the equity of energy efficiency programs will grow by specifically reaching out to low-income residents who may not have been able to access older energy-efficiency programs.

AB 223, introduced by Assemblyman William McCurdy III of Las Vegas, would mean lower power bills for many, freeing up household money for spending on food, health care, education and other needs. Energy efficiency incentives also help create Nevada jobs in identifying and making these improvements for homeowners and businesses.

On Friday, March 3, the Senate Committee and Commerce, Labor and Energy will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 150, sponsored by Senator Pat Spearman of Las Vegas, which would provide a comprehensive structure for energy efficiency programs offered by the state of Nevada and electric utilities.

Speakers from affected communities are expected at both hearings.

“As a Latina from a family that’s always worked hard to get by, it’s very important to me that people have access to the same energy efficiency options, regardless of where they live or what their income is,” said Iridane Sanchez, a University of Nevada-Las Vegas student.

Tasca Miller, a member of Seniors United in Las Vegas, noted the importance of saving on expenses for people on fixed incomes.

“The overwhelming majority of seniors live on a fixed income, struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living rises,” she said. “Unfortunately this can even push some seniors into becoming homeless. This bill would help take some of that weight off seniors’ shoulders by giving them access to energy efficiency programs that bring their utility bills down.”

Communities of color would also benefit.

“African Americans comprise 12.7 percent of the overall population, but are estimated to receive 23-25 percent of assistance funds to pay electricity bills,” said Rev. Leonard Jackson, executive director of the Faith Organizing Alliance in Las Vegas. “Efficiency programs reduce the need for assistance and improve the comfort of homes.”

Rachel West, co-owner of AberleWest Design & Marketing, plans to speak at the Senate hearing on Friday.

“I’m proud to support this energy efficiency bill,” she said. “Energy efficiency programs and measures help everyday Nevadans, including small business owners like myself, save money that can be re-invested in our businesses and the local economy.”