The landmark energy bill signed into law last week by Gov. Deval Patrick sets a solid foundation for energy conservation and efficiency, but how does it help those residents who are today struggling to pay $4 for a gallon of gasoline and escalating utility bills?

The short answer is: It doesn’t.

Where is the immediate relief so many citizens desperately need to make ends meet and to invest in more high-performance energy endeavors?

Much of Patrick’s Green Communities Act is aimed at business by eliminating or minimizing some long-standing obstacles to building renewable power plants in Massachusetts.

The new law requires utility companies to invest in energy efficiency when it is cheaper than to purchase power. That’s a good idea.

It’s also smart to promote renewable power efforts, which is included in the new legislation.

But most residents don’t have the means to install solar panels or windmills, or even to install insulating windows or more efficient boilers in their homes.

Common sense tells us we must conserve and seek alternative energy sources. However, common sense also tells us taxpayers need help now. Allowing offshore drilling would provide that relief.

It remains absurd that the American people own the rights to offshore property, but the 535 people serving in Congress continue to hold those rights hostage even while the economy sinks, consumer confidence erodes and the United States slips slowly closer to becoming more of a third-world nation than a world leader.