Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2839
By: Dukes
Energy Resources


Inefficient energy practices in private homes and apartments cause
utilities to burn more fuel which contributes to the emission of greenhouse
gases. The importance of this is underscored by the fact that the United
States emits one-fifth of the world's total greenhouse gases and Texas is
the single largest contributor to the nation's greenhouse gas emissions.
Increasing the efficiency of energy consumption in Texas would have
significant impacts on both the state's air quality and energy resources. 

Increasing energy efficiency in residential housing could not only have
environmental benefits, but would also serve consumers by providing them
with lower utility bills.  Prior to the 77th Legislature, state law
provided  little incentive for increasing the energy efficiency of new and
existing residential housing.  Some states around the nation are developing
programs to award energy efficient mortgages and other financing incentives
to encourage the construction  and upgrade of residential housing.  House
Bill 2839 establishes the Texas Energy Assistance Loan Program and
authorizes the state energy conservation office of the comptroller of
public accounts to adopt rules to implement the program. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the state energy conservation office of
the comptroller of public accounts in SECTION 1 (Sections 2305.102 and
2305.105, Government Code) of this bill. 


House Bill 2839 amends the Government Code to require the state energy
conservation office of the comptroller of public accounts (office) to
implement and maintain the Texas Energy Assistance Loan Program (Sec.

Under the program, the office is required to:

  _coordinate the delivery and marketing of mortgage incentives to purchase
energyefficient residential housing and to improve the energy efficiency of
existing residential housing; 

  _provide training and technical assistance;

  _provide educational workshops or seminars on the benefits of the program;

  _develop and purchase assessment tools, including software and monitoring

  _develop a database to track energy efficiency improvements in the state;

  _provide follow-up evaluation of homeowner responsiveness to,
understanding of,  and satisfaction with energy efficiency improvements; 

  _conduct market penetration studies; and

  _implement projects and other initiatives that the office may develop to
promote energy-efficient residential housing. 

The bill requires the office to establish a system for monitoring and
evaluating the program and to consult with other appropriate state agencies
to ensure coordination and avoid duplication of activities.  The bill
authorizes the office to adopt rules necessary to implement the Act (Sec.

The bill requires the office to fund projects and initiatives and to
maximize procurement of funds from alternative sources (Sec. 2305.103). The
bill sets forth provisions requiring the office to promote voluntary
participation, annually issue, by rule, voluntary participation guidelines,
and to consult with an advisory task force to develop the guidelines and
procedures for the program (Secs. 2305.104 - 2305.106). 

The bill requires the office to develop and implement a homebuyer mortgage
project, an energy efficiency improvement project, an agricultural
equipment mortgage project, and a home rating and mortgage marketing
project for delivering efficiency mortgage and improvement loans (Secs.
2305.107 - 2305.110).  

The bill requires the office to deliver the first set of guidelines
required by the Act no later than January 1, 2002.