Clean Water Action, Conservation Law Foundation, GreenRoots, and Community Labor United issue statement on the new Energy Efficiency Three-Year Plan
MA – The following statement has been issued by Clean Water Action, Conservation Law Foundation, and Community Labor United on the new Energy Efficiency Three-Year Plan released by the Department of Public Utilities:
“We recognize that the approval of a Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan for 2022-2024 is a step towards increasing renter access to energy efficiency programs for those most impacted by climate change. While the passage of this Plan provides our environmental justice communities hope around the ongoing focus on renters and justice-centered workforce development, it is disappointing that the explicit list of target communities to be prioritized for energy efficiency upgrades was rejected, thereby excluding the greater focus around low-income renters throughout the Commonwealth. It is incredibly frustrating that this significant block of low and moderate income residents in environmental justice communities will no longer be the explicit focus of outreach, engagement and participation for the program administrators. Instead of their efforts being the basis of significant incentives, the effort is much more vague and less detailed.
The rejection of our recommendations to track demographic data based on age, race, ethnicity, disability, income, and primary language by the Department of Public Utilities is disheartening. Even though this plan aims to increase access to energy-efficiency, DPU’s lack of consideration for low- and-moderate income families in our state excludes many of our communities from taking the benefit of this program. Explicit transparency of and accountability for advancing the program in target communities that have been left behind in previous years are some of the most important tools we have to center equity in this work. DPU’s actions today send a clear message that they fail to understand, let alone value, the interconnections between poverty, racial, and climate justice that are now a formal part of their public mandate. We must continue to push toward expanded access to energy efficiency programs and hold our public officials accountable in protecting all, not just a selected few, residents who struggle with skyrocketing gas and heating oil prices in our city.”