The Value & Simplicity of EE to CT

We all need energy and there is a strong growing movement to convert our nation to 100 percent clean energy.  It is not possible to meet the 100 % clean energy goals without implementing energy efficiency (EE) broadly across our state and our nation!

Climate change is real, yet our leaders seem paralyzed.  We don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater, or give up hope on our work to lower our dependence on fossil fuel.

Yes, even if your friends and family have gone to the dark side and no longer believe in Facts; you can have a safe conversation about energy efficiency.  Unlike energy or climate modeling, efficiency has been proven to have amazing positive impacts on everything from our economy to our environment.  Efficiency is one of the things that we can all agree upon and support.

Here are some facts when discussing energy policy in a non confrontational, nonpartisan way:

  • EE increases local jobs, and generates local & federal taxes.   

  • EE lowers energy costs and energy waste.

  • Lowering our energy waste also lowers the impacts of burning fossil fuel,  as well as protect our health and the environment.

  • EE lowers pollution caused by burning fossil fuel as it strengthens our energy grid.

  • EE avoids the need to build new energy plants which cost us money, providing even deeper savings for our residents and state.

In fact, if we implement enough efficiency, in time we can actually reach our 100% percent clean energy goals, all while relying on EE’s proven ability to reduce energy waste and the negative effects of burning fossil fuels.

I’m all for clean cars and community solar.  However, they are expensive and some people don’t even own cars. Buying an electric car won’t reduce carbon pollution unless you power it with clean energy.

clean car powered by polluting electricity generation production. Polluting fossil oil, coal, nuclear, and other non-renewal power plants

 

There is much more pollution created by heating and cooling our homes and buildings than there is from transportation. We can immediately reduce this energy generated pollution through proven simple low cost technologies such as cellulose insulation, air sealing those leaky old homes, installing efficiency lighting & timers, efficiency-based heating and cooling systems, better windows, and power strips.

For example, my team worked on a project where we installed LED lights, insulation and windows in 13 New England homes. We then tracked the energy bills for three years. We reduced the energy waste by approximately 30 percent in each home. Yes, 30 percent annual savings on heat and cooling electric use. That’s 30 percent less pollution from each home. They also are more comfortable homes, safer, and are realizing the financial benefits of not wasting energy.

It is important to look at the facts on Efficiency Efficiency and building science. I am all for aiming for the stars, but we must also pick the low hanging fruit and be sustainable while we aim higher for the 100 percent clean energy goals.

No matter our political party, we can all get behind EE.

Leticia Colon de Mejias 
Save Energy, Save Dinero, Be a Hero for the Planet and your family

Why we need to do something more for EE – NPR Article – 31 Percent Of U.S. Households Have Trouble Paying Energy Bills

Full article: https://www.npr.org/2018/09/19/649633468/31-percent-of-u-s-households-have-trouble-paying-energy-bills

Nearly a third of households in the United States have struggled to pay their energy bills, the Energy Information Administration said in a report released Wednesday. The differences were minor in terms of geography, but Hispanics and racial minorities were hit hardest.

About one in five households had to reduce or forgo food, medicine and other necessities to pay an energy bill, according to the report. “Of the 25 million households that reported forgoing food and medicine to pay energy bills, 7 million faced that decision nearly every month,” the report stated.

More than 10 percent of households kept their homes at unhealthy or unsafe temperatures.

The data come from the federal agency’s most recent energy consumption survey in 2015. That year, expenditures for energy were at their lowest in more than decade, according to the agency.

“We only conduct the Residential Energy Consumption Survey every 4-5 years,” survey manager Chip Berry told NPR by email. “This is the first time in the history of the study (goes back to late ’70s) that we have [measured] energy insecurity across all households, so there’s not much in the way of historical comparison.”

The study found that about half of households experiencing trouble reported income of less than $20,000. More than 40 percent had at least one child.

And people of color were disproportionately affected: about half of respondents who reported challenges paying their energy bills identified as black. More than 40 percent identified as Latino.

“It’s not shocking, because the communities of color disproportionately face all the highest burdens, whether it’s housing, lack of jobs or education,” Tracey Capers, executive vice president of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, a community development initiative in New York, told The Associated Press.

Click here to view the entire article…

Electric ratepayers, efficiency employers, environmental organizations continue push to restore efficiency, clean energy funds

Immediate Release – September 13, 2018                                          

Contacts:

  • Leticia Colon de Mejias (Plaintiff), 860-690-5522
  • Mike Trahan, Solar Connecticut, 860-256-1698

New Haven, Conn.The lawsuit to restore $145 million in Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy funds continued to move swiftly through the U.S. District Court system today as attorneys for the Plaintiffs and Defendants presented their cases in oral arguments before a full courtroom and Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven.

Energy efficiency businesses, clean energy businesses, environmental nonprofits, and utility ratepayer organizations filed a federal lawsuit on May 15 2018 to repeal the legislative sweep of Connecticut’s energy efficiency and clean energy plan funds, and to prevent future diversions of ratepayer funds. The suit argues that using ratepayer funding for other than its intended purpose violates the Contracts Clause of the United States Constitution and functions as an illegal tax on tax-exempt organizations. The original complaint may be read here.

 “The case has been heard and the decision is in the hands of a well-respected judge. I have faith that she will side with the People here in the court and in our state.,” said lead plaintiff Leticia Colon de Mejias, chair of Efficiency For All (EFA) and founder/owner of Energy Efficiencies Solutions. “Even in these difficult times, it is obvious that stealing ratepayer funds intended to help Connecticut residents and businesses reduce energy waste and use cleaner resources is a bad choice. No matter your political party, Efficiency is Efficient. Leaders need to be proactive about our energy plan, our environment, and our economic future. Join us and Take Action. Send a message to your legislators and those who are running for office in November. Let them know that Connecticut cares about our energy plan, our health, our local jobs, and our economy. Efficiency and renewable resources are the future. Take a stand for our future and tell our leaders to stop stealing the funds that support our path forward to a clean efficient stable energy plan!”

“Our goal with this lawsuit remains to remedy the damage done to Connecticut’s families and businesses who trusted that their ratepayer dollars would go towards energy efficiency and clean energy programs that save money and reduce climate pollution,” said Roger Reynolds, chief legal director at Connecticut Fund for the Environment, which is a plaintiff in the case. “We are gratified the court has put this case on a remarkably expedited schedule so far, and hope for a speedy decision on the merits of the case.”

In addition to Colon de Mejias and CFE, plaintiffs in the suit are New Haven-based Fight the Hike; Energy Efficiencies Solutions, LLC; Best Home Performance of CT, LLC; Connecticut Citizen Action Group; New England Smart Energy Group, LLC; CT Weatherproof Insulation, LLC; Steven C. Osuch of East Windsor; Jonathan Casiano of Windsor; and Bright Solutions, LLC. The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from the firms of Holland & Knight in New York City and Hartford-based Feiner Wolfson. Defendants are the Governor, Treasurer, and Comptroller of the State of Connecticut.

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Background:


Additional News Articles:

We finally have our day in court! Stand with EFA to protect our right to a Clean Energy Future!

August 28, 2018 – Immediate Release

Dear friends of the environment and clean energy programs,

We finally have our day in court! The date for the legal case oral arguments against the state for stealing ratepayers EE and clean energy funds has been confirmed by the judge. It is critical that the judge witness a show of community support for the return of the ratepayers funds to support our statewide clean energy and efficiency plan. Our economy, our environment and our future depend on it.

We are looking for business leaders, environmental leadership, and  Community support for this Effort to Repeal the Raid on the Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Funds. Let’s stop the Raids once and for all!

Our only legal goal is to have the state return the ratepayer funds and use the ratepayer funds for the intended purposes.

  1. Can you commit to attending in support of ratepayer and EE and clean energy programs?
  2. Will you stand with us in support of this legal action to protect our clean energy and efficiency plans?
  3. Can your organizational partners work to encourage community members to come sit in court to support this effort during the oral arguments?

The Time Is Now! Warriors Unite!

Let’s stand together for our sensible energy future and for our future at large.

Learn more at www.efficiencyforall.org

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.” ~ Seneca

Contacts:

  • Jennifer Dionne, EFA Community Relations and Government Affairs, 860-337-2239
  • Leticia Colon de Mejias (Plaintiff), 860-580-9076

Background:


Additional News Articles:

Immediate Release – “No clothes”: Efficiency allies respond to State’s claims in Energy Funds lawsuit – 8/13/2018

Immediate Release
August 13, 2018

Contacts:

  • Laura McMillan, CT Fund for the Environment (Plaintiff), 540-292-8429
  • Leticia Colon de Mejias (Plaintiff), 860-690-5522
  • Mike Trahan, Solar Connecticut, 860-256-1698

“No clothes”: Efficiency allies respond to State’s claims in Energy Funds lawsuit

Electric ratepayers, efficiency employers, environmental organizations continue push to restore efficiency, clean energy funds

Hartford, Conn. – The lawsuit to restore $145 million in Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy funds is moving swiftly through the U.S. District Court system as today the Plaintiffs and Defendants each filed responses to the others’ motions for summary judgment. The Plaintiffs’ response may be read here.

Energy efficiency businesses, clean energy businesses, environmental nonprofits, and utility ratepayer organizations filed a federal lawsuit on May 15 to repeal the legislative sweep of Connecticut’s energy efficiency and clean energy plan funds, and to prevent future diversions of ratepayer funds. Attorneys from the firms of Holland & Knight in New York City and Hartford-based Feiner Wolfson, representing the Plaintiffs, filed briefs on July 20 with the goal of allowing U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to render a speedy decision on the merits of the case. State attorneys for the Defendants—the Governor, Treasurer, and Comptroller of the State of Connecticut—submitted their own summary judgment motion papers at the same time.

“Every one of the Defendants’ claims is incorrect, and not supported by the facts in the record,” said Attorney Stephen J. Humes, partner at Holland & Knight. “The Defendants created fanciful arguments about lack of contracts and damages out of whole cloth to cloak the absence of a basis to support the sweeps. And to deny the sweeps have had a negative impact on ratepayers and businesses is to ignore the evidence in front of their own eyes. In Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 tale The Emperor’s New Clothes, a child observing the monarch parade in his invisible clothes declares: ‘But he isn’t wearing anything at all!’ The Court should likewise see through the Defendants’ justifications and perceive that their claims offer no rational basis supporting these illegal sweeps.”

The Plaintiffs’ brief notes that:

  1. The efficiency and clean energy charges constitute a contract between the electric distribution companies and their customers to fund energy efficiency and clean energy projects to benefit ratepayers. The July 20 brief from the Defendants points to previous much smaller sweeps in 2003 and 2005, to argue ratepayers should have expected the diversion of their funds. As the Plaintiffs have noted previously, a few prior acts of petty theft do not justify grand larceny.
  2. The funding sweep takes away the benefits ratepayers were supposed to receive from energy efficiency and clean energy projects. Funding available for efficiency projects in 2017 was 17 percent lower than budgeted, and for 2018 it is projected that spending will be a devastating 39 percent below expectations. This has already resulted in layoffs in the efficiency industry and will soon lead to potential customers being turned away.
  3. The judge should be skeptical of the sweeps as they benefitted the state at the expense of ratepayer contracts.
  4. Transferring the dollars raised from electric distribution company (EDC) customers’ bills to the state General Fund violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment by effectively imposing a new tax on EDC customers but not on municipal electric customers.

Prior to the 2017 raids, energy efficiency dollars have created more than 34,000 local energy efficiency jobs, built up the state’s solar industry, increased the Gross State Product, and added millions to the green energy economy. The State’s Plan to invest in energy efficiency consistently has reduced energy demand year after year, lowering air pollution and water pollution, and strengthening the energy grid to protect vulnerable populations.

In contrast, the raids have led to extensive layoffs and efficiency dollars running out. Programs may close for the year as early as September, denying Connecticut residents access to their money that can make their homes less leaky and drafty and lowering their energy bills just when those pre-winter upgrades are needed most.

“The theft of these funds has undermined successful programs that were benefiting the whole state of Connecticut and has already resulted in thousands of layoffs and several business closures. I have personally been forced to lay off several employees due to this irresponsible action by our state leaders,” said Leticia Colon de Mejias, chair of Efficiency For All (EFA) and founder/owner of Energy Efficiencies Solutions. “As a ratepayer, employer, environmental activist, and concerned mother, I stand strongly against this illegal state action to tax our electric and gas bills, tax nonprofits, and misdirect ratepayer dollars away from our state energy demand reduction plan. Leaders must be held accountable, and must halt the ongoing damage.”

With today’s filing, the case is now in the hands of U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall.

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Background:

July 20 Motion for Summary Judgment

May 15 Complaint

Press release on filing of lawsuit

Summary of case and background

More information can be found at www.efficiencyforall.org and www.ctenvironment.org.

To speak with contractors who are experiencing direct harm or staff who were let go, please contact Leticia Colon de Mejias at 860-690-5522.

Legislative Theft of Efficiency Funds Moves Forward as Legal Briefs Filed – Immediate Release 7/23/2018

Immediate Release
July 23, 2018

Contacts:
Melissa Schlag, CT Fund for the Environment (Plaintiff), 860-398-0569
Leticia Colon de Mejias (Plaintiff), 860-690-5522

Legislative Theft of Efficiency Funds Moves Forward as Legal Briefs Filed

Electric ratepayers, efficiency employers, environmental organizations, file for restoration of efficiency, clean energy funds

Hartford, Conn. – The next step in a lawsuit to restore Connecticut’s ratepayer energy funds took place on Friday, July 20, as attorneys for both sides filed briefs in federal court. Energy efficiency businesses, clean energy businesses, environmental nonprofits, and utility ratepayer organizations filed a federal lawsuit on May 15 to repeal the legislative sweep of Connecticut’s energy efficiency and clean energy plan funds, and to prevent future diversions of ratepayer funds.

Attorneys from the firms of Holland & Knight in New York City and Hartford-based Feiner Wolfson, representing the Plaintiffs, filed papers Friday enabling U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to render a speedy decision on the merits. State attorneys for the Defendants have filed their own summary judgment motion papers as well.

In attempting to justify the illegal sweeps, the Defendant’s brief points to a $30 million sweep that took place in 2003 and a $12 million sweep that happened in 2005, arguing that because they raided the fund before, they have the right to do it again.

“A few prior acts of petty theft do not justify grand larceny,” said Attorney Stephen J. Humes, partner at Holland & Knight. “Given the magnitude and brazen nature of the sweeps, recognized and acknowledged by legislators, it should come as no surprise that this time Defendants got caught with their hand in the till. As the state capitol floor debates made clear, the legislature knew it was stretching the bounds of its authority.”

Last year, Connecticut’s legislature directed the Defendants—the governor, the treasurer, and the comptroller of the State of Connecticut—to divert $175 million from the Conservation & Load Management Charge, Renewable Energy Investment Charge, and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) funds to the State’s General Tax Fund to fill a budget gap over two years. Much of that funding is collected from a small charge on Eversource and UI electric bills, paid by ratepayers and then returned back to the ratepayers as discounts on energy efficiency products, services, low interest financing, and solar panels. The legislature voted in May to restore $10 million of the Conservation & Load Management fund in fiscal year 2019, leaving a gap of $165 million from the state’s demand reduction plan crippling efficiency programs, jobs, services, and financing for ratepayers who need help with efficiency or installing renewable resources. ($137 million in unlawfully seized ratepayer funds and $28 million in RGGI funds)

 Plaintiffs are Leticia Colon de Mejias of Windsor; The Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Inc.; New Haven-based Fight the Hike; Energy Efficiencies Solutions, LLC; Best Home Performance of CT, LLC; Connecticut Citizen Action Group; New England Smart Energy Group, LLC; CT Weatherproof Insulation, LLC; Steven C. Osuch of East Windsor; Jonathan Casiano of Windsor; and Bright Solutions, LLC.

The lawsuit argues that using ratepayer funding for other than its intended purpose violates the Contracts Clause of the United States Constitution and functions as an illegal tax on tax-exempt organizations. The Plaintiffs’ motion filed Friday requests that the court declare the funding sweeps null and void, and issue an injunction requiring the swept funds be replaced immediately and forbidding the State from sweeping the funds in the future.

The first transfer of $73.5 million of ratepayer dollars and $14 million of RGGI funds into the state’s General Fund took place on June 25, 2018. An additional transfer of $63.5 million of ratepayer dollars and $14 million of RGGI funds are scheduled to be made in June 2019.

“The State of Connecticut took $137 million in funds paid by residents on their electric bills for specific energy efficiency and clean energy services, and used that money to plug an unrelated budget hole instead. That was illegal and unconstitutional. We’re demanding the funds be returned and used for their intended purpose: projects that reduce home heating and electric bills, generate economic activity and jobs, and slash air pollution,” said Roger Reynolds, chief legal director at Connecticut Fund for the Environment, a plaintiff in the case. “We are gratified the court accepted our request and put this on a remarkably expedited schedule, as time is of the essence if we are to prevent severe damage.”

Plaintiffs argue that the raided funds have created more than 34,000 local energy efficiency jobs, increased state GSP, and added millions to the green energy economy. They further state the energy efficiency program consistently reduces energy demand year after year, lowering air pollution, water pollution, and strengthening the energy grid to protect vulnerable populations.

“As a residential and business ratepayer, and as an environmental activist, employer, and concerned mother, I stand strongly against the politics behind this illegal state action to tax our electric and gas bills, tax nonprofits, and misdirect ratepayer money into general state coffers,” said Leticia Colon de Mejias, chair of Efficiency For All (EFA). “This theft has undermined our state energy demand reduction plan and has already resulted in thousands of Connecticut layoffs and several business closures—leaders must be held accountable. I have personally been forced to lay off several employees due to this irresponsible action by our state leaders. If the legislators were my children I would be telling them, ‘Just because you snuck two cookies and we didn’t notice, does not mean that we won’t punish you when we find the cookie jar two-thirds empty.’”

“Top state lawmakers have said that forcing Eversource and UI customers to pay more than their fair share to balance lawmakers’ state budget is perfectly defensible, and that people who pay Eversource or UI electric bills should get used to paying what one legislative leader says is a new electric bill tax,” said Mike Trahan, executive director of Solar Connecticut, the state’s solar energy business group. “It’s remarkable that we’ve had to drag state legislators into federal court where a judge will decide if lawmakers scammed consumers out of $165 million.”

“We are now seeing the real life fall-out of this misguided, irresponsible decision by the state to divert funds that wasn’t theirs to take; we are not only losing valuable, skilled technicians but we are losing entire companies,” said Stephanie Weiner, CEO and founder of New England Smart Energy Group, LLC. “If these funds are not restored in the very near future, we will see a once thriving and growing Connecticut industry, that actually helped all the residents of Connecticut save money on their energy bills, disappear forever.”

“It breaks my heart, when we receive a call from a client whose house is drafty and leaky and who needs new windows and/or insulation. And the efficiency charge money they have been contributing on a monthly basis towards the plan is no longer there for them,” saidVivian Perez, co-owner of HE-Energy Solutions, LLC.

“As a result of the sweeps, Plaintiffs no longer get what they paid for,” said Attorney Humes “While the Plaintiffs will continue to pay surcharges into the funds, they will no longer receive the benefits of their payments, nor will they be able to access energy efficiency services or clean energy investments like before. The State has violated the public trust. In light of the ongoing harm caused by the transfer of these funds, we’re pleased the federal court has set an aggressive schedule to resolve the matter in a timely way.” ###

Background:

Motion for Summary Judgment

May 15 Complaint

Press release on filing of lawsuit

Summary of case and background

More information can be found at www.efficiencyforall.org and www.ctenvironment.org.

Quotes from Senate leaders defending the sweeps:

“I believe it’s defensible, what we’ve done,” the Senate’s top Democratic leader, Martin M. Looney of New Haven, said of the legislature’s move to sweep up those energy conservation monies. – Hartford Courant, May 16, 2018.

In a letter from Senate Republican President Leonard A. Fasano to the Connecticut Green Bank’s President and CEO, Bryan Garcia, Senator Fasano wrote, “Although some may argue that the money you receive is ‘ratepayer dollars,’ I would argue those funds are taxpayer dollars.” – March 16, 2018.

To speak with contractors who are experiencing direct harm or staff who were let go please contact Leticia Colon de Mejias at 860-690-5522.


Additional News Articles:

Press Release – Lawsuit Filed Against Connecticut for Budget Raids – Immediate Release 5/15/2018

Immediate Release

May 15, 2018

Contact:  Leticia Colon de Mejias, Efficiency for All ©, lcolonees@gmail.com,  www.efficiencyforall.org

EFA, Leticia Colon de Mejias and attornes Stephen Humes & Attorney HarrisEfficiency For All  (EFA) and Connecticut Fund for the Environment seek full restoration of clean energy and energy efficiency funds

Hartford, Conn. – Efficiency For All, (EFA) and several efficiency and clean energy businesses, ratepayer organizations, and Connecticut Fund for the Environment have filed a federal lawsuit to block the legislative raid of Connecticut’s clean energy and energy efficiency program funds and to prevent future raids of the funds.

Holland & Knight and Feiner Wolfson filed the complaint for the plaintiffs on Tuesday, May 15, in the U.S. District Court. Plaintiffs are Leticia Colon de Mejias; The Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Inc.; Fight the Hike; Energy Efficiencies Solutions, LLC; Best Home Performance of CT, LLC; Connecticut Citizen Action Group; New England Smart Energy Group, LLC; CT Weatherproof Insulation, LLC; Steven C. Osuch; Jonathan Casiano; and Bright Solutions, LLC.

Defendants are the Governor, the Treasurer, and the Comptroller of the State of Connecticut.

“It is never too late to do the right thing; therefore we are calling on the state of Connecticut to return the diverted ratepayer funds for the specific purposes of serving the ratepayer and meeting the state’s written climate, energy, and economic goals. The Time Is Now!” said Leticia Colon de Mejias, CEO of Energy Efficiencies Solutions, Inc.

Last year, Connecticut’s legislature directed the Defendants to divert $175 million from the Conservation & Load Management, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and Clean Energy funds to the General Fund to fill a budget gap over two years. Much of the funding is raised from a small charge on state electric bills, paid by ratepayers to their utility in return for specific services to be provided. The legislature voted last week to restore $10 million of the Conservation & Load Management fund in fiscal year 2019, leaving a gap of $165 million in unlawfully seized ratepayer funds.

The Plaintiffs argue that using the funding for other than its intended purpose is a breach of the contracts clause of the United States Constitution, and also functions as an illegal tax on tax-exempt organizations—such as nonprofits that are ratepayers. We are requesting that the court declare the funding sweep unconstitutional and thus null and void, and issue an injunction forbidding the State from sweeping the funds.

“Conventional wisdom is that the General Assembly can change priorities and reallocate tax revenue with the stroke of the legislative pen,” said Attorney Stephen J. Humes, a partner at Holland & Knight and one of the lawyers leading the litigation. “But this time is different and lawmakers went too far. We all should be worried when the State uses its extraordinary powers and literally takes and diverts funds held in private bank accounts of utilities to subsidize the General Fund coffers.”

“If this raid is not stopped, it will add to the hundreds of millions that state lawmakers have quietly taken from people who pay a UI or Eversource electric bill over the past 10-plus years,” said Mike Trahan, executive director of Solar Connecticut. “That money was supposed to be returned back to ratepayers in the form of low cost clean energy and energy efficiency products and services. Instead, state lawmakers took those hundreds of millions of dollars and used it to balance state budgets when they couldn’t balance the budget with their own funds.”

Stephanie Weiner, CEO and founder of New England Smart Energy Group, LLC, said, “We are now seeing the real life fall-out of this misguided, irresponsible decision by the state to divert funds that wasn’t theirs to take; we are not only losing valuable, skilled technicians but we are losing entire companies. If these funds are not restored in the very near future we will see a once thriving & growing Connecticut industry, that actually helped all the residents of Connecticut save money on their energy bills, disappear forever.”

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Additional businesses and organizations added:


“The state must ensure equal access to cost effective energy efficiency demand reduction programs, energy savings, and renewable energy. The ratepayer funds were diverted into the general tax fund resulting in an illegal tax on non-profits, schools, churches, and under-represented low-income and moderate-income working families which are being turned away from services they have paid for on their energy bills. This raid has resulted in economic harm and will further impact the areas of human health, building safety, climate change mitigation, air and water pollution, job losses, and $30 million dollars in ISO-NE fees to ratepayers in Connecticut. Our state has the responsibility to look out for the best interest of our health, our economy and our workforce. These funds were collected through a legislative order for the specific purposes of stabilizing our energy grid, lowering the cost of energy for all people, and mitigating climate change and pollution which is generated through electricity generation and the heating and cooling of Connecticut homes and businesses. The state has a legislative responsibility to uphold the CES and the Conservation and Load Management plan which these funds were legislated to directly support. We cannot meet our energy, economic, and climate goals without the resources to fund them. Legislators have acknowledged that the diversion was short-sighted and created economic harm, yet at this moment of a $2 billion dollar surplus, they made little to no effort to amend the states plan to support its written and legislative energy reduction goals in 2018 and 2019.”

Kyle Ellsworth, Director of Community Relations and Government Affairs, Efficiency For All

“Connecticut’s budget woes partially reflect a broader economic crisis that continues to hit working families the hardest, as the state suffers from a deficit in good jobs. At the same time, we face a looming climate crisis that has already brought more severe storms and major flooding to coastal communities. Fortunately, these two crises have the same solution: we need to put people to work protecting the climate. Our energy efficiency programs do exactly that: they help struggling communities by creating new local jobs, they grow our state’s economy and tax base, and they move us toward a clean energy future that protects the climate for our grandchildren. Creating a new energy tax by diverting ratepayer funds was a short-sighted decision with immediate and long-term negative impacts on consumers and workers. The General Assembly needs to restore all funding for these critical programs.”

John Humphries, organizer for the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs; and a member of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change

“A constant refrain from policy makers and officials of all stripes is: We want jobs, economic growth, a better business climate, a reduction in our high energy costs, a reduction in harmful emissions, help for the underserved, etc. Then we go ahead and take money from funds which are delivering big time on what we just said we want. I don’t get it.”

Andy Bauer, Portland Clean Energy Task Force

“There is no wiser way to spend money than on efficiency, as we transition to a clean energy economy. It’s the cheapest way to bring about change. In addition to direct savings, using less heat and electricity in CT homes and businesses will mean that ratepayers have to pay for fewer new transmission lines, gas pipelines, and substations in the future. Spending a little now will lead to spending a lot less for many years to come.”

Peter Millman, Eastern CT Green Action

“As a future Engineer and the new voting generation of this state, I believe that we all deserve the chance to help our planet. With lower consumption appliances and light-bulbs and actions to promote energy savings, the Energy Efficiency funds not only reduce the cost of energy for the homeowner but they help in making the planet cleaner.”

Lariab Afzal, engineering student, University of Connecticut

“Every ratepayer contributes to the Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Funds monthly and all of us are supposed to benefit through lower energy bills, cleaner air, a more reliable energy system, and reductions in climate changing pollution. When the governor accepted the bipartisan budget that improperly raided these funds, everyone involved violated their responsibility to the people of Connecticut, the promises made by our government, and their moral duty to address climate change. Until these funds are restored, how can Connecticut residents trust these elected officials?”

Ben Martin, 350CT

“It’s time to return the funds that were raided from the Energy Efficiency Fund. From the onset of this directive our customers have suffered the fallout, in particular those that heat with oil and propane. In addition the companies providing the service have seen a drastic reduction in the ability to maintain its workforce. We need those funds returned so that we can provide the services that were meant to help Connecticut achieve its goal on the energy conservation front. We need to be able to provide all ratepayers equal access and the only way to achieve that is by having the funds that were raided returned and the diversion of those funds repealed.”

Jeff Gerber, Homestead Fuel


Related Articles:

Tell Connecticut’s Leaders to Keep Their Promise!

Connecticut must Support Prioritization of Equal Access to Energy Efficiency  Services in Connecticut we demand that the Ratepayer C&LM and RGGI funds be returned to equally serve ALL Connecticut Electric (Ratepayers) and meet our states energy (CES) plan and economic goals.

Dear Honorable Leaders of Connecticut,

We demand the state of Connecticut’s leaders keep their promise to ALL Connecticut electric ratepayers by taking the following two actions this legislative session.

1. Implement state policy to ensure EQUAL ACCESS to all Cost Effective Energy Efficiency (EE) services and upgrades for ALL ELECTRIC RATEPAYERS regardless of heating fuel source type (FUEL BLIND DIRECT EE SERVICES). We must NOT excluded the Oil and Propane households from accessing proven energy saving services and efficiency incentives.

2. Support “A Repeal of the diversions of the electric ratepayer funds”. The C&LM ratepayer funds must be returned this session to support cost effective direct energy efficiency services in Connecticut or we can not meet our state’s Clean Energy Strategy (CES) or Our Climate Goals. Efficiency is our states DEMAND reduction plan. It keeps “carbon heavy fuels” from being wasted. These programs are award winning highly effective DEMAND REDUCTION programs that directly serve the ratepayers.

Summary:
*Last October the electric ratepayer Energy Efficiency funds (C&LM and RGGI) were unlawfully diverted by our state leaders as part of the bipartisan state budget. This resulted in a lack of Equal Access to Direct Energy Efficiency services for Connecticut electric ratepayers created an inequitable tax on all electric ratepayers, including a tax on nonprofits.

**​Currently Connecticut has lost the ability to provide energy efficiency to oil and propane properties. These households represent 51% of all households in CT. Our state’s highly awarded Direct Service Energy Efficiency (EE) programs can no longer equally serve Oil and Propane households.

Direct Service Energy Efficiency (EE) programs: These award winning EE programs are coordinated by the State of CT Energy Efficiency Board (EEB), and have helped countless working families, low income families, and businesses to lower their energy bills statewide. The Direct Service EE programs lower energy demand by providing on the spot energy savings and long term energy savings, which result in lowered air and water pollution, lower asthma rates, climate change mitigation, and related health problems.

ABOUT EE: Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency Services help households directly lower energy bills. This results in on the spot energy savings for the homeowner, renter, landlord, or business, and saves money across our state.

EE programs support 34,000 Connecticut jobs and generate $1.4 Billion a year in Gross State Product. These programs directly lower our state’s energy costs by hundreds of millions of dollars annually. EE programs generate $140 million dollars in state tax revenue in a single year. Direct Service residential Energy Efficiency programs have avoided $814 million dollars in state healthcare costs. Direct service EE has a 1 to 7 return on investment for the state of Connecticut ratepayers.

Energy Efficiency is the number one way to meet our state energy goals, slow climate change, and lower air pollution in our state. Air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuel to generate electricity harms human health and causes damage to children’s developing lungs resulting in higher rates of asthma, heart disease and stroke.

Energy Efficiency is an economic driver and results in savings to the state of Connecticut. EE is the cheapest way to meet our energy goals and should be fully funded by the ratepayer money which was diverted to state’s general fund. Ratepayer money which is legislated to help the ratepayer lower energy bills through direct service EE and residential solar programs must be supported and not diverted in June 2018.

**The C&LM and RGGI are obtained through collections and ARE NOT a physical fund. The lack of an actual “fund” and the misunderstanding of how collections are “forecasted” and “collections reconciled”, has worsened the impacts on 2018 Direct Service EE programs, inclusive of low income programs and services to working families.

Our state must ensure that enough ratepayer C&LM and RGGI funds are available in years 2018 and 2019 to meet our state’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES) goals or we will incur statewide economic penalties.

Bill S.B. 9 passed with NO Support for Direct Service Energy Efficiency!

Efficiency for All

What is Bill S.B. 9 v.3127?

  1. This bill is a Connecticut E&T bill which has many areas related to our state’s clean energy plan. It has NO support for Energy Efficiency funding which was stolen to fill the state’s growing budget deficit.

  2. With your support this bill or another bill could be amended in the house or the senate to include returning the ratepayer funds which were diverted to fill state budget gaps.

  3. The state should not steal ratepayer money from programs which have a 1 to 7 positive return on investment. These programs are critical to the battle to defend our vulnerable populations form the impacts of climate change and air & water pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuel.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SUPPORT Energy Efficiency in CT?

  • It is important for ALL of us to keep calling legislators and reminding them that we care about Energy Efficiency in our state. Efficiency is important for the future establishment of deeper renewable energy projects.

  • Our state must ensure that enough C&LM and RGGI funds are available in years 2018 and 2019 to meet our state’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES) goals or we will incur statewide economic penalties.

WHY KEEP CALLING AND WRITING?

Regular calls and emails from ratepayers and those in the workforce who wish to have their money returned to serve ratepayers directly and equally will remind legislators that we are not going away. Let’s make it clear that we want more DIRECT SERVICE EE in CT!

Next Steps For EFA and our supporters:

  • EFA will continue to work with stakeholders and leaders in an effort to repeal of the diversion of C&LM funds. This could be supported by an amendment to S.B. 9 or S.B. 10 or any other live bill. We need your help. Write, call, and be active.

  • Please continue to encourage everyone you know to sign on to the EFA letter . This letter is requesting a repeal of the diversion and supports fuel blind language.

EFA letter link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1NCKCuRgH4-EfPvgCfFWQCTuUNUpoiHPs4rBW9PdOgXs

Let’s get our ratepayers money back!

EE is an economic driver. EE Saves Lives. EE provides financial freedom from overbearing energy bills. EE mitigates climate change and the negative harms of climate change. EE lowers peak demand and that lowers our statewide energy costs. EE is the number one way to meet our states energy goals. We must demand, Efficiency For All!

We are looking for active support on Finance Bill H.B. 5165 and amendments to Bills S.B. 9 & 10 in Session 2018

These simple legislative actions will allow energy efficiency programs, and the 34K jobs which support the programs, to continue to “serve all electric ratepayers”. These actions will avoid industry collapse, and lessen economic harm to Connecticut and support our energy and climate goals.

1. Enact nondiscrimination based legislation to equally serve all ratepayers and provide cost-effective DIRECT SERVICE energy efficiency regardless of heating fuel type.

If this action by the legislature does not occur, the result is that program budgets will be expended, and our award winning programs will NOT be able to serve any Oil or propane customers as early as April of 2018. The customers will continue to pay into the fund and have no access to EE services.

2. Bills S.B. 9 & 10 – AMEND to Repeal the Diversions RGGI and C&LM diversions in 2018 and 2019.

Restore the C&LM 2018 and C&LM 2019 ratepayer funds. This funding should be specifically utilized only for DIRECT SERVICE EE to ratepayers, such as home energy retrofits, multifamily retrofits, or other DIRECT SERVICE EE programs.

Direct energy efficiency (EE) is NOT a subsidy. The ratepayer has paid for the EE incentives and services. C&LM and RGGI are an insurance policy which ALL ratepayers pay for and can NOT opt of the payments. The funds are meant to be utilized by the ratepayer when it is needed and cost effective to upgrade the property. EE is a set incentive which is meant to reduce the upfront cost of the EE service for the electric ratepayers who pay into the funds on every electric bill.

Ratepayers should be allowed to equally utilize the programs to lower the direct cost of energy for upgrades, reducing energy bills on the spot, and increasing safety. This will result in lowered Carbon emissions, lowered pollution, and lowered energy waste. EE includes building science based weatherization measures, insulation, windows, or upgraded comprehensive cost effective efficiency retrofits.

STEP # 1 Find your Legislator: https://www.cga.ct.gov/webapps/cgafyl.asp

  • Democratic Main Tel 860-240-8600 or 1-800-842-1420

  • Republican Main Tel 860-240-8700 or 1-800-842-1423

TEMPLATE TO CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR

DEAR HONORED LEADERS OF CONNECTICUT, PLEASE:

  1. AMEND: BILL SB 9 – Include “The repeal of C&LM diversions and RGGI diversions in 2018 & 2019.”

  2. SUPPORT: The language in B ill HB 5165 – An Act Eliminating Diversions of  Electric Ratepayer funds.

  3. Amend: SB 10 to include C&LM direct EE service – Include “The repeal of  C&LM diversions and RGGI diversions in 2018 & 2019.”

  4. SUPPORT: Environment Bill 5087 Rep. Hampton – co- sponsors – Rep Gresko,  Rep Wood, Rep. Winkler, Rep Reyes, Rep Gentile, Rep Young, Rep Gibson

About EFA – Efficiency For All is a Connecticut based stakeholder association. EFA works to gather and present contractor, ratepayer, consumer, legislative, and key stakeholder input on state policy and programs related to energy efficiency in: residential, commercial, small business, multifamily, energy efficiency state administered, quasi-state administered, or ratepayer subsidized programs.

RE : A formal request to protect ratepayer funds and ensure equal access to energy efficiency programs. Also to protect local jobs, our energy future, and our environment through the simple implementation of fuel blind, direct energy efficiency services to Connecticut ratepayers, and to repeal of the diversion of all ratepayer funds in Connecticut.

Dear DEEP, PURA, Office of Consumer Council (OCC) and State Leaders,

Efficiency For All (EFA) has been working diligently to educate our state’s leaders and our communities about the diversion of funding which has already reduced access to energy efficiency programs and is resulting in job losses in our state. This two year diversion of ratepayer funding to the States’ general fund diverted three separate funding sources. These three funding sources supported different parts of the State’s clean energy plan.

1. Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – A multi-state, market-based, mandatory emission allowance auction program for fossil-fuel power plants.  Proceeds in Connecticut are distributed as such: 70% to the C&LM budget, 23% to the CT Green Bank, and 7% to CT DEEP. Within the C&LM budget, RGGI proceeds are primarily used to service oil/propane heated buildings. This diversion of RGGI funds has resulted in almost no access to direct install energy saving services for 75% to 80% of oil and propane heated homes. These oil and propane households will not be able to receive the HES service even though they still pay into the C&LM funds on their electric bills. The 2017 budget diverted $10,000,000 per year for FY18 and FY19 (74% of 2017 auction proceeds).

2. Conservation and Load Management Plan (C&LM) – The statutory framework for CT’s energy efficiency programs, funded primarily by a charge on ratepayer electric and natural gas bills into the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF).  The C&LM Plan provides the guidelines to administer direct residential and commercial energy efficiency services along with outreach and education in an effort to meet CT’s demand reduction and efficiency goals. The 2017 budget diverted $63,500,000 per year for FY18 and FY19 (33% of 2017 budget).

3. The CT Green Bank uses public ratepayer funds to attract private investment for clean energy projects throughout the state.  The CT Green Bank is funded in part by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF), which is a one-mil charge on ratepayer utility bills.  The 2017 budget diverted $14,000,000 per year for FY18 and FY19 (53% of FY17 CCEF proceeds).

Unfortunately many leaders and communities are still confused about which funds do what, where the funds are generated, and what programs the funds actually support.  Please note that you can locate reports and current information at www.efficiencyforall.org.

Our shared goal is to ensure that all the funds are returned to serve ratepayers and to meet our state’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES) goals. It is critical when allocating funding that there be a clear focus on the importance of service to ratepayers, the reduction of energy waste, jobs in Connecticut, benefits to the local economy, and the reduction of peak demand, which lowers the cost of energy in Connecticut for all.

Energy Efficiency (EE) is still the most effective way to reduce energy waste, and offers the highest ROI for ratepayers.  EE provides the most local jobs, and is the biggest support to local our economy.

Because energy efficiency is the best way to meet our state’s goals, we are advocating for the following actions at the state level. CT DEEP’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES) released in February pointed to Energy Efficiency as the most prominent part of the state’s CES. However, we can not meet those goals if EE is not supported with ratepayer funding (which has been diverted), or if EE is not planned for and not implemented.

We are looking for your active support of the following actions in 2018

1. Protect energy efficiency fund ratepayer dollars from budget diversions in Connecticut through the implementation of specific statues which do not allow for diversions of ratepayer money to the general fund.

An Act Repealing Diversions of Ratepayer Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Funds

To undo state budget diversion of electric ratepayer funds from cost-effective energy efficiency and clean energy programs and support equal access (fuel blind) to state energy efficiency funds which: reduce the state’s dependence on nonrenewable energy resources, reduce the cost of energy generation, and mitigate the impacts of air and water pollution protecting human health.

2. Implement legislation for a “Fuel Blind (Fuel Neutral) program of direct energy efficiency services for all ratepayers in Connecticut”. We are requesting legislation to ensure that all ratepayers have equal access to ratepayer funded programs regardless of socio-economic status or fuel type. All electric ratepayers are paying into the C&LM funds; Therefore all ratepayers should have the opportunity to access the direct service programs which support health, safety, and energy savings.  

3. FIX RATEPAYER IMPACT STATEMENT– Studies which only count cost and do not quantify non-cost benefits are biased. Connecticut must Implement Non Energy Impact (NEI) testing for EE programs in Connecticut. This simple step to properly track and quantify EE benefits such as, but not limited to: the state GSP, lowered cost of energy infrastructure, reduced healthcare costs, improved health, the protection of at risk communities, and net tax revenues will correct the way in which we quantify the data and properly track EE outcomes and results.  

Clarifications on the IMPORTANCE of direct service to the ratepayer and direct EE measures

Energy Efficiency is not a subsidy and does not cost the state of Connecticut any money: CT Energy Efficiency programs are not a subsidy. They are paid for by the ratepayers and directly serve the ratepayers, resulting in proven, on the spot, long-term energy savings to the ratepayers and the energy grid. This results in reduced peak demand, lowered pollution, lowered carbon emissions, as well as lowered energy costs to CT businesses, schools, and state properties alike. Efficiency for All is attempting to openly clarify that EE contractors employ staff and subcontractors for the specific purposes of direct service to ratepayers. These direct service contractors do not receive any subsidies and are only compensated for direct installation of pre-approved, high ROI, energy saving measures.

Energy Efficiency helps at-risk populations and working families, businesses, schools, churches, and the State of Connecticut. EE has the unique ability to free up financial resources, allowing the funds to be used for whatever is needed most such as, food, medicine, education, housing, business growth, or the state’s budget. Energy efficiency even helps renewable energy go further, and helps us all to avoid the rising burden of the costs of energy.

The Connecticut Energy Efficiency industry includes 34,000 jobs . Solar only accounts for 6,000 – 8,000 jobs in CT. The EE jobs are high paying jobs for local Connecticut residents. The EE programs utilize C&LM collected ratepayer funds to directly serve ratepayers. EE workers can earn between $16 and $30 an hour. These jobs offer benefits and hire CT residents. Our workers pay taxes, vote, own property, and shop in CT.  

Restoring only the Green Bank funds and increasing the amount of ratepayer funds to the Green Bank allocation will not save 34k jobs or help oil and propane customers who can no longer receive direct services which they have paid for and are still contributing to at this time. The clean energy programs do not lower peak demand or lower energy costs directly in the way that energy efficiency, can and does, lower these impacts on ratepayers and businesses in Connecticut.  The Green Bank is an important asset, but the ratepayer, the economy, and our jobs should come first.

Q: How can our leaders help create a stable energy and economic future?

A: EFA and our stakeholders formally request that DEEP, PURA, and our state’s legislators take immediate action to request the ratepayer funds not be diverted.

We further request that DEEP and PURA ensure that any restored funds are utilized for “Direct Services to Ratepayers” and are not utilized for overhead, administrative fees, upstream rebates, or unnecessary “innovation” in funding unproven ideas. EE has a well documented track record and nationally supported positive outcomes to meet our states goals.   

We further request the creation of a “fuel blind (fuel neutral) program which is equally accessible to all electric ratepayers” and request that our leaders do not simply divert the ratepayer funding to the Green Bank, or a new Green Bank nonprofit entity.

EFA asserts that Governor’s Bill 9 and Bill 10, submitted by the Governor for legislative action, Do NOT address the diversion of C&LM funding in the amount of $63,500,000 dollars per year. These funds were collected via utility bills under the “COMBINED PUBLIC BENEFITS CHARGE”. The programs provide direct energy efficiency services and upgrades in homes, businesses, and buildings across Connecticut. The diversion of funding away from the C&LM and these programs is not addressed in Bill’s 9 or 10.

Governor’s Bills 9 and 10 will NOT protect the direct energy efficiency services to ratepayers, or the 34,000 jobs which these programs support directly and indirectly. The EE workforce is experiencing the first wave of layoffs  are turning away oil and propane customers from accessing services which would lower their energy bills, and our state’s peak energy demand. More layoffs will begin soon if funds are not restored.

Energy efficiency has the advantage of reducing all types of power plant-related emissions simultaneously by avoiding the need to generate electricity in the first place. Whenever households and businesses reduce electricity consumption, they reduce the need to generate additional electric energy. The avoided generation from expensive fossil fuel-fired power plants is desirable to reduce energy costs, and air pollutant emissions. This results in improved human health, while slowing climate change.

The return on investment (ROI) of EE direct services is higher than all other forms of clean energy (2018 CES). EE supports local jobs, as well as providing additional quantified and well documented economic benefits, and improved health outcomes in at risk communities.

Fact sheets are available on this website and EFA is available to meet with leaders, legislators, community groups, or stakeholders to provide detailed data on the direct impacts to EE jobs, programs, and ratepayers.

Please join support us and protect the ratepayer funds, equity based energy efficiency, local jobs, and our environment through the direct energy efficiency services to Connecticut ratepayers.

We look forward to your response and the opportunity to answer questions.

Respectfully,

Efficiency For All member, stakeholders, and contractors

Leticia Colon de Mejias, EFA co-chair , Tel: 860-580-9076, Lcolonees@gmail.com

Kyle Ellsworth, Director of Community Relations & Government Affairs, EFA Tel: 860-337-2239, Kyle.ellsworth@efficiencyforall.org

Energy Efficiency Economy 2018

Diversion Impacts 2018

Why raiding Connecticut’s Energy Efficiency Fund is a bad idea