Energy conservation has saved California $34 billion since 1977, roughly $1,000 for each resident, and has played a big role in helping the state’s economy grow, according to a new state-commissioned report. The report comes as the California legislature is considering bills to extend beyond 2001 a four-year-old charge on utility bills that helps fund energy conservation and costs most families a few dollars a month. The report’s lead author, Mark Bernstein, said the study’s findings should “end the debate” about the wisdom of the charge because promoting energy conservation will likely lower utility payments for most families. The report says that simple changes, such as improving wall insulation and replacing old appliances, can cut as much as $400 from an annual utility bill.