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MMWEC, municipal utilities receive state energy efficiency grants


From the February 9, 2012 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published February 9, 2012

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has awarded $200,000 in grants to the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co. and the municipal utilities in Westfield, Chicopee, Ipswich and Reading, Mass., for energy efficiency projects. "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," said Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr.

Using the MMWEC energy efficiency program model, Westfield, Chicopee and Ipswich received grants totaling $192,500, primarily to bolster customer rebate programs that offset the cost of making energy efficiency improvements. MMWEC received $7,500 to promote its energy efficiency program and assist municipal utilities with delivery of related customer services. Reading Municipal Plant received $50,000 to offer a new energy-saving water heating program to its residential customers.

"This grant is certainly a welcomed contribution to expanding the energy efficiency services provided by these municipal utilities," said MMWEC Chief Executive Officer Ronald DeCurzio. "We are hoping the allocation of these funds can be expanded in the future to benefit additional municipal utilities and their customers," he said. MMWEC coordinated the competitive grant application process for its member utilities in Westfield, Chicopee and Ipswich.

The grants are funded through proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional cap-and-trade emissions reduction program that has generated more than $150 million for Massachusetts through the sale of emission allowances. The cost of these allowances is reflected in regional electricity prices for all consumers, and, until now, municipal utilities were barred from receiving RGGI grants, MMWEC said.

"Ideally, the success of the programs in Westfield, Ipswich and Chicopee will be a springboard for program development in other municipal utilities as well as the allocation of additional RGGI funding to municipal utilities," DeCurzio said.

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