Massachusetts approves $4 billion energy efficiency plan

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (“SFP ») approved the Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan 2022-2024 (thePlan 2022-2024”), which allocates $4 billion in energy efficiency incentives. The 2022-2024 plan restructures Mass Save to align with state climate goals and ensures funds are used to maximize benefits and savings for customers.

What is Mass Backup?

Established in 2008, Mass Save is an initiative that provides a range of energy efficiency services to help the Commonwealth achieve its climate goals. Funding for the program comes from Massachusetts residents who all pay energy efficiency fees on gas and electric bills. In partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and major state energy providers, Mass Save offers free home energy evaluations, tips to reduce energy consumption, rebates and other incentives.[1] As a result, Massachusetts residents are able to better manage their energy use and utility costs.

Currently, Massachusetts residents who are customers of Berkshire Gas, Cape Light Compact, Eversource, Liberty Utilities, National Grid or Unitil are eligible for savings under the 2022-2024 plan.[2] The amount of services offered is based on income level. The plan identifies low-income customers as those earning less than 60% of the state’s median income and moderate-income residents as those earning between 60% and 80% of the state’s median income. Depending on income level, services may be provided up to 100%. For example, the program offers a 100% weather protection incentive for low- and middle-income customers.[3]

How does the 2022-2024 Plan change the situation?

The 2022-2024 plan restructures Mass Save with revamped rebates, no-cost efficiency upgrades, interest-free loans and other additional energy efficiency incentives.[4]

The plan’s weather protection rebates are a significant update to Mass Save incentives and reaffirm the state’s commitment to decarbonization. As demonstrated earlier this year with the launch of the Clean Heat Commission, the Commonwealth aims to decarbonise residential and commercial buildings by retrofitting buildings with electric heating systems. In order to transition to electric heat pumps, HVAC contractors recommend that homes first undergo weatherization to reduce costs and energy consumption.[5] The new 100% rebate on weatherization for low- and middle-income households provides a cost-effective starting point for homeowners.

In addition to weatherization, the plan will use its budget to provide other incentives for electric heat pumps while setting strict reductions for annual oil, propane and natural gas consumption. Homeowners who choose an electric heat pump system can receive up to $10,000 in rebates.[6] More Massachusetts residents can make the switch, as program administrators, entities that run Massachusetts energy efficiency programs, aim to launch a heat pump education campaign and dedicated heat pump page. heat on the Mass Save website. They will also create a heating calculator so that customers can better understand their energy consumption.[7]

Impact on Massachusetts Communities

Many stakeholders applaud the 2022-2024 plan, however, the plan’s impact on Massachusetts communities, especially environmental justice (“I”) communities, will be difficult to quantify. The 2022-2024 plan emphasizes workforce expansion and sets specific equity goals to meet the needs of underserved populations. Still, many experts in the EJ community believe these metrics are a good start, but not enough, as the DPU rejected recommendations to track demographics based on age, race, ethnicity, and social background. ethnic and other factors.[8] Demographic data is essential for policy makers to identify and track changes in community needs, disparities, biases and cultural preferences.[9] In addition, these demographics could support efficient use of resources. Despite the program’s limitations, the 2022-2024 Plan and its transformation into Mass Save is a necessary step towards advancing energy efficiency in the Commonwealth.

Shaina Sikka also contributed to this article.

Endnotes

1 https://www.masssave.com/

2 https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/02/02/science/what-new-mass-save-rewrite-means-you/

3 https://www.masssave.com/en/savings/income-based-offers/income-eligible-programs

4 https://www.mass.gov/news/dpu-approves-massachusetts-nation-leading-three-year-energy-efficiency-plan

5 https://www.mass.gov/news/dpu-approves-massachusetts-nation-leading-three-year-energy-efficiency-plan

6 https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/02/02/science/what-new-mass-save-rewrite-means-you/

7 https://www.mass.gov/news/dpu-approves-massachusetts-nation-leading-three-year-energy-efficiency-plan

8 https://www.utilitydive.com/news/massachusetts-approves-4b-efficiency-plan-is-it-transformational-or-a/618313/

9 https://www.mass.gov/lists/making-clas-happen-six-areas-for-action

©1994-2022 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, PC All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 67

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