For many, this is a matter of survival, not just comfort
Thank you to Yvonne Abraham for bringing to light the urgent need for equitable energy efficiency programs in Massachusetts (“Mass Save everybody,” Metro, June 13). For years the Green Justice Coalition and its partners have urged the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to increase access to energy efficiency programs and provide more opportunities for residents to engage in public comment processes on the subject.
This was on display at a hearing on Tuesday. Residents, workers, and renters shared their concerns about high utility costs and weatherization as well as a lack of opportunities for community engagement. It is clear that residents are tired of broken promises and a lack of transparency.
With both climate and housing crises affecting people’s lives, the next three-year energy efficiency plan will have a direct impact on how many people will survive increasingly deadly heat waves and cold fronts and will be able to afford a comfortable home in the future. Every community member deserves equitable access to energy efficiency. Will Governor Baker finally understand that for many people, this is a matter of survival rather than comfort?
The writer is the climate justice organizer at Clean Water Action MA, which is part of the Green Justice Coalition.
Making improvements is vital, but state is still making progress
While Yvonne Abraham’s “Mass Save everybody” promotes a positive goal — increasing the delivery of energy efficiency services to low-income and underserved households and communities — it diminishes positive efforts underway.
Utilities are not the primary delivery agents for low-income consumers; the state’s community action agencies, which provide fuel assistance and carry out the federally funded Weatherization Assistance Program, deliver services via subcontract. These nonprofit agencies serve low-income households and address language barriers while performing outreach in critical communities.
Second, Mass Save created a data-tracking system that assesses how services are delivered across geographical and customer categories to measure progress. Third, the draft three-year plan includes community organizations, expanded service delivery approaches to mixed-income rental properties, and expanded reporting and tracking using this new system.
Fourth, Massachusetts has excellent low-income energy rate discounts supported by the utilities, to help customers receive affordable energy.
While everyone agrees that we need to constantly improve our service delivery to all energy consumers and stop energy poverty, we as a state are making good progress and are among the nation’s leaders in this area.
E4TheFuture is a nonprofit advocacy organization formerly known as Conservation Services Group, which was active within the Mass Save program.