Community Invited to Participate in Public Planning Process for Mass Save® Programs
CAMBRIDGE – As part of the Commonwealth’s celebration of Energy Efficiency Day, Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Patrick Woodcock today visited Cadbury Commons, an assisted living facility in Cambridge, which recently benefited from a $700,000 grant from DOER to support innovative approaches to increasing weatherization measures. The project, supported by a grant awarded to the Center for EcoTechnology (CET) in 2018 for the design and implementation of the Increasing Weatherization in Massachusetts Small Businesses program, builds on the Commonwealth’s national leadership in energy efficiency.
Governor Charlie Baker declared October 7, 2020 as Energy Efficiency Day to highlight the importance of energy efficiency programs to create economic opportunities and jobs, save residents money on their utility bills, and combat climate change. Since the Baker-Polito Administration took office in 2015, energy efficiency programs through Mass Save® have generated over $14 billion in benefits for Massachusetts ratepayers, including over $1 billion in benefits to low-income customers. There are more than 81,000 energy efficiency sector jobs in the Commonwealth, and Massachusetts has been named the #1 state in the nation for energy efficiency for nine consecutive years by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
“Energy efficiency is a key strategy to meeting our climate goals and is the easiest and most affordable way to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our statewide energy efficiency programs have helped our residents and businesses invest in energy efficient upgrades to lower their energy bills, and we’re committed to supporting all communities as they work to improve their efficiency.”
“We’re proud to support small businesses as they undertake the important work of designing and implementing energy efficiency projects,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These efforts by Massachusetts residents, communities, and local business owners have helped make the Commonwealth a national leader for energy efficiency and will help us reach our ambitious climate goals.”
Mass Save®, the state’s energy efficiency incentive program, is administered by electric and gas utilities and energy efficiency service providers. Every three years Mass Save® undergoes a public planning process to develop the next phase of programs. The Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC), chaired by DOER, encourages the public to join in the planning process and hope to expand access to both the planning and the efficiency programs this year.
At 5.pm. today, DOER and the EEAC will launch the public planning process for the 2022-2024 Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan with the first of six public meetings to hear from residents, businesses, communities, and industry stakeholders to understand how the energy efficiency programs can best serve customers more equitably. The public engagement process will ensure the energy efficiency plan is community-driven and informed by the unique needs of communities across the Commonwealth. This plan will outline the goals and priorities for how funding will be spent for the Mass Save® program for the next three years. Once completed through the public planning process, the Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan will be submitted to the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) for review and approval. Scheduling details can be found here.
“Energy efficiency continues to be a key element of this administration’s efforts to achieve our goal of net zero emissions by 2050,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “With equity at the center of our focus to ensure customers across the Commonwealth have access to our programs, cost-effective measures like building insulation and electrification will remain a key priority for us to reduce emissions and lower the cost of energy for customers.”
In collaboration with DOER and the EEAC, Mass Save® includes strategies focused on increasing participation from various customer groups, including dedicated budgets and no-cost energy efficiency upgrades for low income customers, no-cost insulation for moderate-income customers, and enhanced incentives for renters and landlords, as well as a new municipal partnership strategy launched in 2020 to work with cities and towns to engage residents through community-based approaches.
As part of the current 2019-2021 Three-Year Plan, DOER, the EEAC, and the Mass Save® Program Administrators conducted research to assess participation rates and barriers to participation. The study found that moderate-income households, renter households, and limited English-speaking households have lower awareness of Mass Save® programs and participated at lower rates than other populations in 2013-2017. The results of this study highlight the need for an increased focus, new approaches, and additional resources for Mass Save® programs to reach residents and businesses more equitably.
“DOER continues to collaborate with utilities, industry partners, residents, and businesses to ensure that Mass Save® programs meet the needs of all customers and continues to be a cornerstone of our clean energy future. We hope this year’s planning process will engage more community members including renters, environmental justice communities, low-income residents, and small businesses,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Patrick Woodcock. “Energy Efficiency Day highlights how Massachusetts is saving money, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating jobs, and now more than ever, our communities need it the most.”
Community members and stakeholders can sign up to provide comment during the public comment sessions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The schedule and registration information for the virtual public comment session, as well as general information about the Three-Year Planning process, can be found on the DOER website.