On the heels of being named the most energy efficient state in the country, Massachusetts’ energy efficiency providers are looking to help the commonwealth keep that distinction by unveiling a new three-year plan to deliver energy efficiency services that will result in nearly $9 billion dollars in economic benefits to residents and businesses across the commonwealth. The three-year plan was unanimously approved on November 13, 2012 by the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC), an eleven member Council established under the Green Communities Act (GCA).
This is the second three-year plan that has been developed in response to the GCA which calls for the state’s energy efficiency Program Administrators to develop a comprehensive statewide plan every three years that addresses energy needs by first investing in energy efficiency and demand reduction before purchasing new energy supply. The Program Administrators are made up of Massachusetts utilities NSTAR, National Grid, Western Massachusetts Electric, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, New England Gas, Unitil, Berkshire Gas, Blackstone Gas and the municipal aggregator Cape Light Compact.
“We’re extremely proud of the success of our first-ever three-year plan that coordinates energy efficiency offerings across the commonwealth,” said Penni Conner, Chief Customer Officer for Northeast Utilities, parent company of NSTAR and Western Massachusetts Electric Company. “Our goals for the next three years are aggressive and will challenge us all to continue to deliver superior services to our customers.”
In developing their new plan for 2013 - 2015, Program Administrators worked closely with the Patrick Administration, the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley and the EEAC. Program Administrators also worked with a diverse group of stakeholders that included business and civic leaders, policy makers, advocates and Massachusetts residents in a highly interactive two-day summit designed to generate ideas to shape new energy efficiency programs. In addition to existing successful efforts, such as free Mass Save® home energy audits, equipment rebates, low-income services and HEAT Loan financing programs, additional ideas generated from the sessions incorporated into the new plan include approaches targeted specifically toward economically challenged neighborhoods, the healthcare sector and office space.
“In creating this renewed plan, we continued with elements that are working from the previous plan, discarded the ones that aren’t, and most importantly, we incorporated new energy efficiency program ideas based on feedback received directly from our customers,” said Edward White, Vice President, Customer and Business Strategy, National Grid. “Massachusetts’ energy efficiency program efforts have been recognized both within the commonwealth and nationally, and we look forward to paving an even deeper path for savings for our customers while simultaneously achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions.”
One hallmark of the Program Administrators’ comprehensive plan is their commitment to continued nationally-recognized services to low-income customers. This low income delivery effort is coordinated through the state’s low-income weatherization and fuel assistance program network.
“We look forward to providing cost effective, whole house, energy efficiency services, along with the Program Administrators, to all low income homes and communities throughout Massachusetts,” said Elliott Jacobson, Vice President, Energy Action, Inc. “The plan provides the opportunities to make energy more affordable, lower energy consumption, and decrease negative environmental impacts. We thank the Program Administrators for their support and commitment, and we thank the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) for their role in creating the collaborative process that resulted in this ambitious three year plan.”
In keeping with the GCA, the Program Administrators’ plan also calls for promoting the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and stimulating job creation in the clean energy sector. With projected Program Administrator costs of approximately $2 billion and estimated savings benefits of nearly $9 billion, economic and environmental benefits to consumers will be substantial.
From a job creation standpoint, the Program Administrators estimate that 2,300 jobs will be created in clean energy as a result of the implementation of the energy efficiency programs for residential and business customers.
“In addition to the energy savings that our efficiency programs deliver to customers, we are helping move the economy forward,” said Steve Bryant, President of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts. “These jobs provide a very good wage and will create growth opportunities for workers in the energy industry.”
Having already obtained the unanimous support of the EEAC for the 2013-2015 statewide plan, the individual Program Administrators are now seeking final approval on their territory-specific plans from the Department of Public Utilities (DPU). The DPU is expected to act on these requests in January 2013.
NSTAR, a Northeast Utilities company (NYSE: NU), transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas to 1.4 million customers in Eastern and Central Massachusetts, including more than one million electric customers in 81 communities and 300,000 gas customers in 51 communities. For more information, please visit our website: www.nstar.com. Friend us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter: @nstar_news.