All New Yorkers Deserve Energy Efficiency

John Rhodes, Chair of the New York Public Service Commission

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Right now, New York State is making important decisions about how to make our energy system more efficient. We need to make sure the benefits of energy efficiency - including access to finance, common sense health measures, and adequate funding - are going to the underserved communities who need them the most. Please take five minutes to sign this petition to the New York Public Service Commission, and forward to your friends!

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To: John Rhodes, Chair of the New York Public Service Commission
From: [Your Name]

To Chair of the Public Service Commission John Rhodes:

Our energy system needs major changes. Fossil fuel development and use are driving climate disasters all over the world, while energy costs push vulnerable New Yorkers out of their homes. This is why it’s so important to use less energy to meet our needs—improving the energy efficiency of our buildings and homes is a necessary step for us to get to a fully renewable energy system that works for all New Yorkers.

Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo announced a new energy efficiency standard, and your agency—the Public Service Commission—asked the utilities to come up with plans to meet the new standard. Grassroots groups and community organizations made many well-documented calls to make energy efficiency measures accessible to low income New Yorkers, and the utilities ignored these calls. This is completely unacceptable. There’s too much at stake. That’s why we need the Public Service Commission to mandate the following common sense measures:

1. Make money available for health measures like asbestos and mold remediation, and ensure that the evaluation processes agencies use fully incorporate all the societal benefits of serving low income households.

2. Our state agencies, NYSERDA and the DPS, along with the utilities, should develop and pilot an inclusive finance model for residents of New York who struggle to take out a loan. No one should be excluded from the health, safety, and financial benefits of energy efficiency.

3. New climate legislation passed in New York sets a mandate that at least 35% of clean energy benefits go to disadvantaged communities, while codifying a more aspirational goal of 40% of benefits. However, the new law only requires that 20% of new ratepayer funds should be invested in LMI communities for energy efficiency. For a just transition to a clean energy economy, a minimum of 40% of new funds should be directed to benefit low-to-moderate-income households and disadvantaged communities.

4. Public comment processes need to be easily accessible to residents who may not be well versed in the technical aspects of the topic at hand. LMI program creation by NYSERDA and the PSC must be designed in collaboration with the communities that these programs will serve. The process for integration of suggestions must be transparent. Where input is not incorporated, agencies should say why not. We refuse to let our participation create legitimacy for stakeholder processes if our communities aren’t actually being heard.