New Energy Standards for Massachusetts

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Massachusetts has taken a major step to reduce energy consumption.

The plan calls for a statewide reduction of 2.4 percent in electricity use and 1.15 percent in natural gas use annually for three years. The savings are to be achieved largely through $1.6 billion in incentives for utility customers who take certain actions to conserve energy, like insulating their houses or replacing conventional light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones.

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At the heart of the Massachusetts plan is a quadrupling of annual spending for consumer outreach and conservation incentive programs to about $600 million annually from $150 million. Money will be available to consumers for services like free energy audits, and rebates will be offered for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances and air conditioners.

The move puts the state in competition with--if not ahead of--California as the state with the strictest energy standards.

Steve Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, which ranked California and Massachusetts No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in its 2009 survey of the most energy-efficient states, said that while a switch in those rankings was not certain, it was likely.

I would much prefer to see this sort of action on a nationwide level. Failing that, however, a state-by-state approach will have to do. The insulation program, in particular, will provide some boost to the construction sector, and it will save consumers money in the long run. --Bruce D. Snider

 

 
 

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