This inequity would have been corrected by proposed legislation including Senate Bill 415 and Senate Bill 450. Efforts to provide reliable access to efficiency programs and to improve the structure of efficiency funds were supported by 350 Connecticut, other statewide environmental advocacy groups, energy efficiency businesses and private citizens. Unfortunately, ongoing negotiations among legislators meant that no compromise energy bill was finalized before the clock ran out on the 2012 legislative session Wednesday night.
Teresa Eickel, member of 350 Connecticut and executive director of the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, testified in support of the policy at a public hearing. “This legislation will not only save Connecticut residents hundreds of dollars per year, it will also secure jobs for economic growth,” she said at the time. Owners and employees of home performance businesses testified that expanding access to and funding for state efficiency programs would enable them to hire more workers, while restricting access might force them to lay off workers–especially in areas of the state where oil is the predominant heating fuel.
Although the legislature failed to deal with this issue in regular session, there is still time to give oil customers access to these programs before funding runs out. “Our senators, representatives and governor need to act quickly,” said Laura McMillan, a member of 350 Connecticut’s Global Warming Solutions Act working group. “Providing all state residents with access to programs like Home Energy Solutions will help their constituents to save money, protect skilled jobs in the home performance sector, and reduce Connecticut’s carbon footprint.”
Within the next two months, the 50% of Connecticut residents who heat their homes with oil could lose their access to energy efficiency programs in the State of Connecticut. These programs save residents money on heating and electricity, reduce our energy consumption, oil use and carbon footprint, and create green jobs for people right here in CT. We have the chance to save these programs and continue equal access to energy efficiency programs, but our legislators need to hear from you right now.
Are you willing to make a call or write a letter today?
Our ask: we need our legislators to pass SB 450, which addresses oil efficiency, and to make sure that the final version of the bill includes a stable funding source for oil efficiency.
- Find your legislators using this tool (or Project Vote Smart if you have trouble) and click on the yellow dot to open the websites for your Connecticut State Senator and your Connecticut State House Representative. Find their phone numbers or their physical addresses (usually a room # at the Legislative Office Building).
- Take a moment to review the talking points below and then pick up the phone or start writing! Be respectful, but also be yourself. Talk about why you care, and be clear about what you want. If you’re writing a letter, be sure to include your name, home address and phone number.
- Let us know you made a call or sent a letter by clicking here, and then share this page with friends and colleagues by email, facebook, twitter or in person.
- Sign the petition to support this bill: Support SB 450, An Act Concerning Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy.
- Background: Forty-eight percent of houses in Connecticut are heated with fuel oil, but the residents in those homes currently have limited and declining access to efficiency programs to help reduce their heating bills. Many municipal facilities and schools are also heated with oil. Oil efficiency programs have been funded through federal stimulus funding and other interim sources that are now running out, and our representatives in the Connecticut Legislature have the power to sustain these programs by finding a stable funding source. These oil efficiency programs will give residents access to the same low-cost energy assessments, rebates and financing that natural gas and electric customers have access to currently.
- Why this is important: With these programs our state is making it possible for Connecticut residents and businesses to cut their oil consumption, cut their carbon footprint, save money and create jobs for the skilled workers we need to install insulation, provide energy audits and perform upgrades for outdated appliances. Without these programs, we’ve lost the chance to make a huge dent in our energy use for 50% of homes across the state, and the companies who have led the way in Connecticut by providing these energy efficiency services will need to start laying off employees rather than adding more.
- What we need: We need our legislators to address “oil efficiency” this session, and to work together to find a stable funding source for energy efficiency programs for oil customers. There is no specific bill yet for this issue, but you can identify it by using the phrase “oil efficiency”. The first committee to vote on this will be the Energy and Technology committee, and whether your representative is a part of that group or not we need them to tell their colleagues and their party leadership: oil efficiency is an issue we need to fix this session, and doing so will have important benefits for CT residents, CT workers and the planet we live on.