Walmart saves $200 million by changing its light bulbs – CNBC Article

Walmart saves $200 million by changing its light bulbs and $20 million with a new floor wax

 

  • Walmart’s size means that small changes yield big results.
  • Walmart says switching to LED lights in its parking lots cut its annual energy costs by $200 million.
  • A change in the floor wax it uses cut costs by $20 million a year because the floors need to be buffed less often.

The multiplying power of size makes it easy to save big money on little changes.

Imagine saving millions of dollars just by changing light bulbs and floor wax. It’s exactly what Walmart is doing.

“We are in the process of a multiyear rollout of replacing all fluorescent fixtures with LEDs in our stores, clubs and parking lots,” Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs told analysts Tuesday at the retailer’s investor day at its headquarters, in Bentonville, Arkansas. “Not only is it good for the environment, these changes could reduce our annual energy costs by $200 million over time.”

In the U.S. alone, Walmart buys tens of billions of dollars’ worth of goods and services used for the business that aren’t sold in its stores, a category called “goods not for resale.” These are goods like travel services or maintenance supplies.

One of those items, is floor wax for stores, which the world’s largest retailer recently changed.

“Not only is the new wax cheaper, it’s also sturdier. It doesn’t need to be buffed as often, resulting in less spent on the actual buffing, as well as fuel for the machines,” Biggs said. “That one change in floor wax will save us over $20 million a year.”

It’s savings on a major scale.

Walmart’s founding principle is “everyday low price,4” which can only be achieved by everyday low cost. The more Walmart saves on the cost side, the more shoppers save at checkout.

Read full article at  https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2018/10/16/walmart-saves-200-million-by-changing-its-light-bulbs.html

EFA members receive awards at from Connecticut Fund for the Environment 10-2018

EFA is a local nonprofit which works with communities, leaders, and the EE workforce to raise awareness on the value and importance of energy efficiency to our economy, workforce, health, energy stability, environment, and rising energy costs in Connecticut.

Last week, two EFA members were awarded for their efforts to protect the ratepayer funds and the local energy efficiency programs & services.

Stephanie Weiner, Leticia Colon de Mejias and Vivian Perez (not pictured) were key plaintiffs in the legal filing against the latest state of Connecticut raid on the energy efficiency funds and renewable energy funds.

Their efforts along with key support from E4 the Future were critical to the legal action taken to protect the ratepayers and our clean energy future.

Efficiency remains the least expensive and most efficient clean energy resource we can deploy.

Learn more about the legal case and positive outcomes EE provides Connecticut’s. Join EFA in our effort to increase energy efficiency and to educate the public about the value and importance of energy efficiency to a stable energy future.

Efficiency is the least expensive clean energy resource that we can deploy. Efficiency is the fastest way to reach both our economic and environmental goals. Simply put, “Efficiency is Efficient.”

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.

###

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.

###

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.”

###

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


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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.