For Immediate Release - February 03, 2012

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Grants to Fund Four Municipal Power Energy Efficiency Projects in Chicopee, Ipswich, Reading and Westfield

For the first time, state funds energy efficiency programs at municipal light and power companies

BOSTON – February 3, 2011 – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. today announced $200,000 in grants for energy efficiency projects to municipal power companies serving four communities: Chicopee, Ipswich, Reading and Westfield.

“Massachusetts is No. 1 in the nation for energy efficiency because we continue to support energy saving programs that help businesses, residents, and municipalities save energy and manage their energy costs. These grants make it possible to expand the reach of energy efficiency in communities served by municipal-owned utilities,” said Secretary Sullivan. “There is no cheaper or cleaner fuel than fuel we don’t use, and I applaud these utilities for taking the initiative to expand that model.”

Through a competitive solicitation, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is awarding funds for the first time to the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) and its project partners in Ipswich, Westfield and Chicopee to expand commercial and industrial (C&I) customer energy efficiency rebate programs. Reading Municipal Plant will also use funds to offer a new energy saving water heating program to its residential customers. MMWEC will use its grant for statewide energy efficiency outreach and marketing efforts. The grants include:

Chicopee Electric Light Department
Ipswich Municipal Light Department
Reading Municipal Light Department
Westfield Gas and Electric
Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company
$32,479
$17,410
$50,000
$92,611
$7,500

Ipswich and Westfield will boost C&I energy savings by increasing the rebates and energy audits offered to their customers through existing C&I energy efficiency programs. Rebates would cover improvements including energy efficient heating and cooling, windows, boilers and furnaces, lighting fixtures, monitoring systems, and insulation. Chicopee will provide incentives for to local businesses for lighting improvements.

The grants are funded through proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – a regional cap and trade program that has added $500 million in net economic impact in Massachusetts. These awards mark the first time the state has invested in energy efficiency programs at municipal light and power companies instead of investor owned utilities.

In October 2011, Massachusetts was named number one in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) annual state-by-state energy efficiency scorecard Massachusetts became the first state to top California in the ranking, thanks to the Patrick-Murray Administration’s clean energy agenda, including the Green Communities Act of 2008 and innovative programs and policies to save energy and create jobs. ACEEE said Massachusetts is “excelling in every aspect of energy efficiency,” and cites the Green Communities Act as central to Massachusetts’ success. ACEEE also pointed to the effectiveness of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s integrated approach to creating jobs, helping clean energy businesses thrive, improving energy security and lowering energy costs, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Thanks to Governor Patrick's national leadership on energy efficiency, we’re making tremendous headway in pursuit of our goals to stabilize energy costs and create local, home-grown sources of clean energy," said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia.

Massachusetts is at the end of the energy pipeline and imports all of its fossil-fuel based energy sources from other regions of the country or other parts of the world, contributing to the region’s volatile fossil fuel price and supply markets. Of the $22 billion Massachusetts spends annually to buy the energy that runs our power plants, buildings and vehicles, 80 percent flows out of state to purchase coal from Colombia, oil from Venezuela, and natural gas and oil from the Middle East and Canada. That is nearly $18 billion in lost economic opportunity that Massachusetts stands poised to reclaim through investments in local energy efficiency project.

"This grant is certainly a welcomed contribution to expanding the energy efficiency services provided by these municipal utilities," said MMWEC Chief Executive Officer Ronald C. DeCurzio. "For its part, MMWEC will continue its work to assist municipal utilities with delivering energy efficiency programs, and we're hoping the allocation of these funds can be expanded in the future to benefit additional municipal utilities and their customers."

"The RMLD is very excited to expand our technological services for our customers and are extremely grateful for the grant awarded to us by the DOER. Governor Patrick's innovative leadership encourages us to create new solutions to help all customers. We look forward to providing a unique energy innovation that can be expanded across the state."

“Westfield is delighted to be among the first municipal utilities in Massachusetts to receive a grant from the DOER,” said Westfield Gas & Electric General Manager Daniel J. Howard. “We have worked hard at initiating a program for our commercial and industrial customers that promotes conservation and energy efficiency while expanding those existing programs to our residential customers. We are pleased to see that our efforts have been recognized and that we can further expand these programs with the benefit of this grant."

"The DOER grant will enable Chicopee to move forward with expanding programs to better serve our customers and help meet our system needs with energy efficiency and conservation initiatives,” said Chicopee Electric Light, Manager Jeffrey R. Cady. “Using energy efficiently is essential in delivering a reliable and economic supply of electricity Chicopee consumers. This grant will keep us moving in that direction."

"Having access to these funds is an important piece of municipal utility efforts to deliver energy efficiency programs to their customers," said Timothy J. Henry, manager of the Ipswich Municipal Light Department. "In Ipswich, the grant will support a successful program that is benefiting a growing number of our customers.”

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