Acadia Center testified February 8 before the Senate Finance Committee to vigorously oppose the McKee Administration’s attempt to use $6 million in ratepayer energy efficiency funds as the sole means to support the state’s Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council. The budget proposal would divert a portion of the energy efficiency charges included on electric and gas bills to support other state climate activities, especially in the heating and transportation sectors according to Office of Energy Resources Commissioner Nick Ucci.
“Acadia Center strongly supports efforts to fund the EC4’s activities and urges the Administration to increase the budgets for all climate-related measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, Acadia Center must emphatically oppose the way in which the McKee Administration is seeking to fund EC4 activities, by diverting electric and gas ratepayer funds collected for energy efficiency while asking nothing of other fossil fuel users, or even the businesses that earn significant revenues from the sale of carbon-polluting fossil fuels,” said Hank Webster, Rhode Island Director of Acadia Center.
Beyond the inequities of this proposal, Acadia Center generally opposes diverting funding away from the Energy Efficiency programs when there is so still so much untapped savings potential. Energy Efficiency is a first and foundational tool in the fight against climate change. Investments in energy efficiency like insulation, weather sealing, appliance upgrades, and so much more help to reduce the amount of energy utilities and consumers need to buy, and does so at significant cost savings.
“There are far better, more equitable ways to pay for the climate action we all recognize are necessary. Acadia Center urges the General Assembly and McKee Administration to identify a different funding source that more accurately reflects the broad societal moral imperative to address the climate crisis,” said Webster.