Progress on CCE program guidelines

Update: The City of Boston reports that it has submitted its CCE plan to the DPU on June 20!

At the May 30th meeting of the Community Choice Energy (CCE) Working Group, the City of Boston reported that it is still waiting for the state Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to authorize the City to submit its CCE plan to the Department of Public Utilities (DPU). The City anticipated a quick turn-around with DOER, and had not been asked for any additional materials beyond the draft plan it submitted to DOER weeks ago. The City hoped to have its plan approved by DPU in time to make its first foray into the electricity market in January. That timeline now seems doubtful with the delay at DOER and DPU’s expectation that it will need as much as 8 months or more to review Boston’s plan. Eversource is also lobbying for a later start date so that it might have more time to prepare the data transfer to Boston.

Also on May 30th, BostonCAN and other working group participants dove deep into the Values and Principles statement that will guide decision-making as the program details are spelled out and the plan is implemented. In addition to the three values presented for discussion: additionality, preference for local generation, and affordability, the discussion generated 4 additional principles. BostonCAN led the drafting of language codifying a goal of rapid greenhouse gas reduction through CCE’s green power purchases. We also proposed a new principle that residents of Boston’s environmental justice (EJ) neighborhoods should have priority access to those jobs created by CCE. Our Green Justice Coalition allies Youth on Board (YOB) raised the important question of how “affordability” would be defined. YOB also put forward an idea to help make the green electricity even more affordable for low-income residents: a voluntary extra payment option for those who can afford more. We were just beginning to discuss a fourth new principle (meaningful engagement of residents of EJ neighborhoods in the details of the plan design) when the meeting had to end.

Due to the fruitful discussion, City staff announced that they would convene an additional working group session in July to finalize the Principles and Values document. We are excited to have this additional opportunity to work with the City and allies to craft this important document which will guide this program for years to come.

Do you know where your utility fees are going?

If you’re a Massachusetts resident, your monthly utility bills include charges that fund energy efficiency work in your community. This summer and fall, the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC), established by the passage of the Green Communities Act last year, has been tasked with approving these utility-administered energy efficiency programs covering the next three years. And since you’re paying into the fund, wouldn’t you like a voice in how the money’s being spent?

At the EEAC planning meeting on July 14th, BostonCAN combined forces with other members of the Green Justice Coalition, including labor, social justice, and environmental organizations, to fight for equitable use of these energy efficiency funds. The funds will total more than $200,000 dollars of ratepayer money this year and grow substantially in the future.

As the state pushes utilities to triple their energy efficiency gains, and to spend money on conservation projects before building any new power generation capacity, the Green Justice Coalition is organizing member groups to turn out at EEAC hearings and other events to advocate for energy efficiency programs that will benefit all Massachusetts residents, including low-income communities and communities of color.

The EEAC is ruling July 28th on the next phase of the utility companies’ plans for spending your money on energy conservation. Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Check out Open Media Boston for a full report on the July 14th proceedings
  • Visit Community Labor United’s web site for a briefing on the utility energy efficiency plans
  • Come to the EEAC hearing on at 1:30 pm on July 28 at 100 Cambridge St. or call Mike at 617-282-3783 to get involved with BostonCAN’s green justice committee.