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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

New York legislators and renewable heat advocates call on Public Service Commission to mandate investor-owned utilities to comply with State climate goals

Following the passage and signing into law of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), New York State legislators and renewable heat advocates are calling on the Public Service Commission (PSC) to require investor-owned utilities to meet state climate goals by expanding energy efficiency programs.

Clean energy advocates with the Renewable Heat Now Campaign sent a letter to the PSC on August 13th, with three specific demands:

● The utilities must comply with the 5 TBtu heat pump targets established in the December 2018 order. Currently, the Joint Utilities have stated their goal as only 2.7 TBtu, far short of the PSC’s goal.

● In order to meet the nation-leading targets outlined in New Efficiency: New York, the utilities must be mandated to expand efficiency programs to rapidly scale up energy retrofits for commercial (for-profit and not-for-profit) and residential buildings, including robust incentives and more and affordable financing options for insulation, air sealing, and heat pump installation.

● The utilities must provide strong incentives to support conversion to renewable, efficient heating and cooling to all customers, regardless of their current heating fuel. All electric customers – including those who heat with fracked gas – will pay for these programs through charges on their utility bills, and it is unfair, discriminatory, and contrary to the state’s climate goals to leave gas customers with no rebates for heat pumps. New York will reach its climate goals only if it transitions a large percentage of customers who are heating with fossil fuels – including fracked gas – to heat pumps.

Legislators are closely following the State’s New Efficiency: New York proceeding and offer the following comments:

“Last year, the Public Service Commission ordered New York’s utilities to implement measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also reducing rate payers’ costs through energy efficiency. Con Edison’s utility filings fell short of these requirements,” said Senator Julia Salazar. “We recently passed the historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act through the state legislature in order to plan and commit to environmental justice. A month later, Con Edison cut power in our Brooklyn communities during one of the hottest days of the year, after the company failed to properly maintain the grid with our ratepayer dollars. The Commission must send a strong message to the utility companies that business as usual is completely unacceptable, and that all New Yorkers deserve access to heat pumps and energy efficiency measures, regardless of where they live or how much money they have.”

“Following passage of the historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) this year, New York State is committed to meeting ambitious climate goals and energy efficiency standards over the next few decades,” said Assembly member Patricia Fahy. “Last year, the Public Service Commission (PSC) ordered utility companies operating in New York State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while reducing ratepayers’ costs through implementing new energy efficiency standards. We urge the PSC to ensure utility companies are adhering to these standards and expanding access to heat pumps and other energy efficiency measures for all New Yorkers.”

State Senator James Sanders Jr. said: “As the sponsor of the Green New Deal for New York on the state level, I fully support the Renewable Heat Now Campaign’s efforts to make the five boroughs a cleaner, greener, place that preserves the environment and protects the earth. My legislation aims to make our state greenhouse gas emissions neutral by 2030 by transitioning from a fossil fuel-based economy to one based on 100% clean renewable energy. The Renewable Heat Now Campaign’s proposal to the Public Service Commission goes hand in hand with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which I hope will be speedily implemented in order to continue on the path to make our world a better place for future generations to thrive and flourish.”

“This year, New York became a leader by passing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. In order for us to reach the important milestones outlined in the legislation, we must hold all parties accountable. I urge the NYS Public Service Commission to uphold their December 2018 order and begin making plans for more stringent targets for all investor-owned utility companies to ensure we achieve our climate goals,” said Senator Rachel May.

“With passage of the historic Climate Leadership and Protection Act, utilities need to step up their game and develop energy efficiency programs that align with New York’s energy efficiency goals and help customers reduce energy consumption in their homes, schools, and workplaces. With buildings accounting for some 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, we will not achieve our goals unless the Public Service Commission mandates more stringent requirements for utilities, including robust programs to support the switch to air-source and ground-source heat pumps. We face a climate crisis and we have no time to lose,” said Senator Jen Metzger.

“To meet our State’s robust clean energy statutes, our economy is not only going to have to quickly ramp up our generation of renewable electricity, but we’ll also have to use it to heat and cool our buildings and power our vehicles,” said Assemblyman Steve Englebright. “That’s why we need our utilities to invest in energy efficiency programs and support meaningful rebates to promote homeowner conversion to renewable energy heating and cooling devices such as heat pumps as well as comply with the stronger PSC targets for renewable heat energy.”

Renewable heat advocates plan on attending the September 19th PSC meeting to shine light on the process and press for a strong, comprehensive role for heat pumps in the energy efficiency program.

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Senator Salazar: 917-370-4440

Assemblymember Fahy: 518-455-4178

Senator Sanders: 718-523-3069

Senator May: 315-478-8745

Senator Metzger: 845-344-3311

 

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