Governor Lamont Directs $3.5M in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Funds to Energy Efficiency Programs for Low-Income Customers That Will Reach an Additional 1,000 Homes
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is directing $3.5 million in funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to be allocated to Connecticut’s utility-administered energy efficiency programs for low-income customers. This support will increase the delivery of energy efficiency programs that save residents money on their utility bills while reducing energy use and carbon emissions.
The funding augments an approximate annual budget of $37 million dedicated to low-income energy efficiency programs statewide and will be used to support the Home Energy Solutions-Income Eligible (HES-IE) program, allowing the program to reach approximately 1,000 additional homes in 2022.
HES-IE provides home energy audits and core weatherization measures, such as air and duct sealing, for an average savings of $250 on annual household energy bills. After the initial HES-IE visit, customers can receive additional upgrades, such as insulation and efficient windows, that can provide even more savings. Income-eligible customers receive these services for little to no cost through the HES-IE program. HES-IE is available to customers that have a household income that is 60% or less than the state median income, participate in utility forgiveness or matching payment programs, or receive other forms of means-tested assistance.
“Global disruptions in the energy sector are hitting low-income households especially hard, and initiatives like this are designed to provide relief,” Governor Lamont said. “I’ve worked to protect our state’s award-winning energy efficiency programs from damaging budget sweeps and supported Connecticut efficiency contractors through pandemic disruptions. These programs are here to help consumers save money during this energy crisis. These funds will help our most vulnerable residents lower their energy costs, while also helping the environment.”
“Energy efficiency is at the core of the Lamont administration’s strategy to reduce emissions from the electric sector, an area Connecticut has made tremendous strides in over the past several years,” Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “The RGGI program has long been a workhorse providing funding for our energy efficiency programs, and protecting ratepayer efficiency funds has been a priority of Governor Lamont since he took office. This funding will provide residents with a sustainable source of savings on energy costs over time and will be complimented by DEEP’s latest Conservation and Load Management Plan, which directs Connecticut’s utilities to redirect RGGI funding as needed to programs benefitting low-income, energy burdened, and other underserved customers, including those who live in multi-unit dwellings.”
Under Governor Lamont’s leadership and DEEP’s oversight, the energy efficiency programs are well-positioned to meet this heightened demand. In addition to protecting ratepayer efficiency funds from being diverted for other purposes, the Lamont administration has also taken steps to build capacity in Connecticut’s energy efficiency workforce, including through the 2021 launch of the Office of Workforce Strategy’s CareerConneCT program, which will train local workers in in-demand industries such as energy efficiency. With this support, energy efficiency programs will continue to be a source of energy savings, emissions reduction, and economic development for the state.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lamont administration, including DEEP and the Department of Economic and Community Development, worked closely with the utilities, Energy Efficiency Board, contractors, and other stakeholders to ensure contractors could continue to perform essential services for customers through the statewide energy efficiency programs by implementing health and safety procedures and incentivizing customer participation. These measures generated record levels of demand for the energy efficiency programs that persist to this day. Demand for the state’s utility energy efficiency programs has peaked this year as consumers look for ways to curb their energy costs.
HES-IE is one of many utility-administered energy efficiency programs available through the EnergizeCT initiative. Energize CT provides Connecticut residents and businesses with services, financing, and rebates for energy efficiency and clean energy improvements. More information is available at energizect.com.
RGGI is a cooperative effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia to cap and reduce power sector CO2 emissions. RGGI is the nation’s first mandatory, market-based CO2 emissions reduction program. Within the RGGI states, fossil-fuel-fired electric power generators with a capacity of 25 megawatts or greater must hold allowances equal to their CO2 emissions over each three-year control period. Generators must also hold allowances equal to 50% of their emissions during each interim control period (the first two calendar years of each three-year control period). The current three-year control period is January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2023.