FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- A new report rates Connecticut as fifth in the nation when it comes to energy efficiency, giving credit to a new energy bill this year, and says the Nutmeg State is poised to rise even higher in the rankings.
The report, from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a Washington, D.C.-based clean energy advocacy group, ranked Connecticut behind only Massachusetts, California, New York and Oregon.
The Connecticut General Assembly passed of a major energy bill earlier this year and Gov. Dannel Malloy signed it into law this summer.
“Energy efficiency is the cleanest, cheapest, most reliable energy resource available," said Steven Nadel, executive director of the council, in a statement. "Over the past year, Connecticut has made major strides in creating a sustainable framework that will help its citizens reap all of the benefits of energy efficiency."
The scorecard noted that Connecticut and the four other top states “comprise the group of truly leading states that have made broad, long-term commitments to developing energy efficiency as a state resource.” This is the first time Connecticut has been in the top five states since 2009. Last year, it tied with two other states for sixth place.
The council also said Connecticut is a state “on the move” as a result of Public Act 13-298, which authorized a virtual doubling of energy efficiency program opportunities for residents and businesses to reduce their monthly energy bills.
“Our state’s ranking this year recognizes our focus on capturing the benefits of energy efficiency to lower monthly electric and natural gas bills for families and businesses,” said Malloy. “The cheapest energy is the energy that we don’t use through efficiency measures we all can undertake – with every dollar spent on efficiency returning nearly $2.40 in savings on energy bills.”
The increased focus on efficiency will further reduce energy costs in Connecticut, which has already seen a 12 percent decline in the cost of electricity since 2010.
The expanded energy efficiency plan will increase investments in efficiency programs from $122 million a year to more than $220 million through 2015.
The plan includes programs for residents and businesses that will bring down the cost of efficient lighting products, expand resources to provide for more low-income residents to receive energy efficiency assessments of their homes, help small businesses with financing, provide increased flexibility for installing energy efficiency equipment for large industrial energy customers, and more.
"The Comprehensive Energy Strategy called for helping residential and business customers go beyond replacing lighting and putting in weather stripping to pursue ‘deeper’ energy efficiency savings,” Environmental Protection and Energy Commissioner Daniel C. Esty said in a statement. “We are meeting that objective – with dramatic increases, for instance, in the number of people installing insulation after a home energy audit – and we’ll build on that progress with our new efficiency plan.”
Eric Brown, director of Energy and Environmental Policy for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said the group “recognizes that our economic and environmental future are tied to providing Connecticut businesses and citizens with cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy.”
William Dornbos, Connecticut Director for Environment Northeast, praised Connecticut's commitment to saving.
"Without this type of commitment, residential and business energy consumers simply waste money – to the tune of an estimated $400 million a year in our state right now," Dornbos said. "With the help of the expanded efficiency plan we’ll help people take steps to reduce their energy bills by eliminating wasted heat and electricity.”
More information on energy efficiency programs available in the state can be found on the Energize Connecticut website at www.energizeCT.com . More information on the scorecard can be found at www.aceee.org .
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