A coalition of community and environmental conservation organizations rallied at the Capitol today to call on legislators to halt the pending raid of the Energy Effiecncy Fund. In June, $54 million is scheduled to be diverted from the fund, jeopardizing approximately 6,800 Connecticut green collar jobs.
The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, Efficiency for All, Clean Water Action, and Connecticut Fund for the Environment each circulated petitions signed by over 2,000 Connecticut residents from 116 towns. Along with members of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, and Youth Climate Strikers, advocates presented these petitions to the Governor as well as leaders in the State House and Senate.
“Connecticut has spoken, and we want to stop this diversion to not only save ratepayers money, but also ensure our state is being efficient with our energy usage while creating good-paying, local jobs,” said Lori Brown, Executive Director of CTLCV. “Governor Lamont and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for an end to the raids, and they have the power to stop it. The people of our state want them to put promises into action. Now is the time.”
The signatures were gathered to stop the raid of $54 million from the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF), a program to support Connecticut residents and businesses as they seek to save money and fight climate change by increasing the accessibility of energy efficient options. The pending June diversion is on top of a sweep in 2018 that has already cost jobs, closed businesses, and denied access to money-saving efficiency services for low- and middle-income households.
Comments from supporting organizations:
Amanda Schoen, Deputy Director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters: "Hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents struggle to pay their energy bills. The Energy Efficiency Fund is critical to helping them lower their rates while also cutting our carbon footprint and supporting over thirty-four thousand good, local clean energy jobs. Our lawmakers have said they want to make energy more affordable, fight climate change, and grow our economy. That starts with putting an end to the upcoming diversion of the Energy Efficiency Fund before it's too late."
Leticia Colon de Mejias, Chair of Efficiency for All and Chispa Director for the CTLCV Education Fund: "Diverting our state energy efficiency funds is undermining our state’s ability to lower energy burdens on electric ratepayers. Efficiency doesn’t just make dollars; it makes sense. These programs are paid for by the Connecticut ratepayers and should be used to serve the ratepayers needs to lower their energy waste and energy burdens. Our leaders can take simple action to stop the pending diversions through a budget amendment which would restore the funds."
Anne Hulick, State Director for Clean Water Action: "Connecticut residents have spoken! Raiding the energy efficiency and clean energy funds that come directly from a surcharge on ratepayer's electric bills was a hidden tax. These funds not only help residents reduce energy demand, lower bills and improve the health and safety of homes, they help to reduce carbon pollution. We're urging the Governor and Legislature to stop the pending June diversion and protect these funds for their intended purpose."
Leah Schmalz, Chief Program Officer, Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound: “Fully replenishing and protecting the energy efficiency and clean energy funds will curtail both short and long-term economic damage. It also signals Connecticut’s commitment to efficiency and clean energy businesses, climate commitments, public health, and citizens’ wallets.”
Rep. Geraldo Reyes (D-Waterbury): “I live in Waterbury and am an active stakeholder in our communities. We are plagued by serial polluters and absentee landlords who let their blighted properties drag down our neighborhoods. Environmental justice and enforcement is a quality of life issue for my constituents.”
Rep. Michael Winkler (D-Vernon): “Energy efficiency leads to a cooler, less polluted planet. It’s also a jobs program. It would be hard to think of a better investment for our money.”
Rep. David Michel (D-Stamford): "We have right in front of us, the perfect example of what the green new deal could be with the offshore wind power. You can replace the use of fossil fuels, create hundreds to thousands of jobs, and offer a better price to the rate payers. However we have to be mindful that there are different ways this could be done and I am confident our new administration and our leadership will help with not only the creation of those jobs but also with the protection of the marine life ecosystem of the North Atlantic region. This is the future, where our labor unions can work in unison with our environmentalists."