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.


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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