William Dornbos, Connecticut director and senior attorney at Acadia Center, said Wednesday that the proposal by Senate Republicans to divert $160 million annually from the state’s energy efficiency programs over the next two years “would effectively end Connecticut’s energy efficiency programs for the next two years, and perhaps beyond.”
“Cost-effective energy efficiency is at the center of any modern clean energy strategy, and so this troubling cut would be a needless step backwards for Connecticut, almost certainly crippling the emerging clean energy economy that will be so crucial to our future.” Dornbos said.
The cut being proposed by Republicans represents a two-thirds reduction from current funding levels, he said.
That kind of funding reduction would eliminate incentives available to homeowners to have energy audits done. About 40 companies do the audits around the state, Dornbos said, and “if vendors and contractors have less work, they will begin laying off staff, selling equipment, and losing trained technicians to nearby states with strong, well-funded energy efficiency programs.”
“With previous raids on the energy efficiency programs, we have seen major disruption and job losses in the home performance and efficiency contractor sectors that lingers well past the raids and takes years to overcome,” he said.
Dornbos projected that job reductions attributable to funding cuts in energy efficiency programs could top 12,000 workers in Connecticut. Over time, the cuts might result in the loss of another 28,000 jobs as a result of a reduction in consumers using disposable income created through energy efficiency efforts.
Beyond the jobs that will likely be lost, Connecticut residents of modest means will be more likely to see their energy bills rise if efficiency programs are drastically cut, he said.
“It would deprive many consumers — especially residents with low or fixed incomes — of their best protection against high energy costs,” Dornbos said.
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