September 20, 2010
Did you know that every gas and electric bill you pay includes a surcharge to make homes greener? In Boston, this surcharge goes into a fund for energy efficiency work throughout the city, but utility companies disproportionally spend the funds in wealthy neighborhoods. As a member of the citywide Green Justice Coalition (GJC), ACE is demanding that lower-income communities receive a fair shake.
So far, the utility companies that serve Massachusetts have promised that the surcharge will provide green jobs and serve 1.9 million Boston residents. However, they have refused to provide data on jobs creation and are over-stating the number of people helped by double-counting residents who have received multiple upgrades.
Using data from the Mass Save Program, the GJC has found that these services have been concentrated in higher-income communities and given to homeowners instead of renters.
The GJC has made a number of recommendations for the city to fix this disparity. These include tiered incentives so that lower-income residents can afford home weatherization and wide-spread community outreach so that residents can access the weatherization program. To combat high unemployment and stabilize families, we are asking that green jobs created by this fund be made available to community members and provide good wages and benefits.
Take action to ensure that these recommendations are adopted! Please call NStar CEO Thomas May at (617) 424-2000 and National Grid CEO Thomas King at (781) 466-5000. You will be asked to leave a message. Tell the CEOs to include these reforms in the midterm modifications to the state energy plan and to notify the Green Justice Coalition by Tuesday, October 5.
Despite recent reports that the recession is over, lower-income neighborhoods are still in deep economic crisis. Weatherizing homes in our communities helps residents save money, provides quality jobs and reduces our collective carbon footprint. Help us hold the utility companies to their promise of equitable spending for energy efficiency!