To the Editor: As we seek to transition to sustainable energy sources, we often focus on production and ignore ways we might reduce consumption.
However, reducing consumption is the “low-hanging fruit” in today’s energy picture.
Consider the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), an innovative agreement that collects $14 million for New Hampshire energy efficiency programs. Under current law, the money is distributed as follows:
• $14,000,000 goes into the Energy Efficiency Fund
• $350,000 or 2.5 percent is used by the Department of Environmental Services and Public Utilities Commission to administer the fund.
• Just under $3,000,000 is distributed to utilities to fund energy efficiency programs
• $2,000,000 goes to municipal governments and schools.
• Another $500,000 is earmarked to go towards low-income energy improvements.
• $500,000 is utilized in the Request for Proposals process.
Where does the lion’s share of the money go? $10 million plus goes into rebates.
Rebates for commercial and industrial consumers total $6,000,000, while residential ratepayers, you and I, receive about $4,000,000. The individual rebate we receive is insignificant; about 0.20¢/month, or $2.40/year.
If the funds rebated to ratepayers were allocated for their intended use, 615 New Hampshire homes could be weatherized, reducing energy consumption/emissions, and freeing up over $3,000,000 energy dollars/year!
If the entire $10,000,000 were utilized for energy efficiency projects, 1,540 homes could be improved, releasing $7,700,00 energy dollars back into the New Hampshire economy.
With SB122 we have an opportunity to re-allocate RGGI funds.
If we use more of these funds for their intended purpose, our economy, people, and environment will benefit.