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California Energy Efficiency Program Could Be Much More Effective for Low-Income Residents

According to an analysis by the Energy Efficiency for All coalition, California's Energy Savings Assistance Program could be four times as effective for low-income renters if it were better deployed.
October 9, 2018, 1pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

California's Energy Savings Assistance Program has the potential to achieve four times the savings it currently does "if the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approves increased investments, new measures, and innovative program delivery models," Maria Stamas and Jose Torres write. 

That's based on a report by the Energy Efficiency for All coalition, which finds that as much as $200 million in utility bill savings are currently going unrealized. Part of the problem may be housing type: "at least one-third of those eligible for California's low-income energy efficiency assistance live in multifamily buildings, yet energy efficiency programs have historically underserved these residents."

At the same time, Stamas and Torres say, lower-income households tend to spend a larger proportion of their income on energy, and often live in older, poorly insulated rental housing with less efficient appliances. They're also likely to live closer to pollution sources like freeways and power plants.

By adopting better program design, funding models, and performance goals (more in the article) over the next 14 years, California's four largest investor-owned utilities could save 934 gigawatt hours of electricity, according to the report.

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Published on Friday, October 5, 2018 in NRDC
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