The Bulletin Board

Utilities appeal energy efficiency decision

By: - February 7, 2022 11:22 am
A radiator and a wooden floor.

NHSaves helps people and businesses reduce the cost of energy efficiency programs. (Dana Wormald | New Hampshire Bulletin)

The state’s utilities filed an appeal on Friday asking the New Hampshire Supreme Court to overturn a recent decision on energy efficiency programs. The joint appeal follows a similar appeal made by the Office of the Consumer Advocate in late January.

The Supreme Court will now decide whether to take up the case or let the controversial November decision by the Public Utilities Commission stand. That decision rejected a triennial energy efficiency plan put together by the utilities and stakeholders to increase funding for NHSaves – a program that provides rebates for things like weatherization and efficient appliances – instead reducing funds for the program. That move signaled an intent to do away with those types of programs entirely, according to Consumer Advocate Don Kreis.

An appeal could upend that decision if the court agrees with the arguments laid out by the utilities and Kreis’ office. 

William Hinkle, a spokesperson for Eversource, said that protecting and preserving NHSaves programs remains a priority for the company. The programs help customers save money and decrease energy use, he said. 

“In order to maximize all options for defending these critical programs for residents and businesses across the Granite State, we believe that appealing the recent PUC orders to the New Hampshire Supreme Court is a necessary measure,” he said. 

The challenge from the utilities mostly addresses procedural issues, such as whether the PUC gave proper notice on issues it considered in the decision-making progress. The utilities also argue that the PUC based its decision on factors they never got to address, raising due process issues.

The Conservation Law Foundation also plans to file an appeal on Monday. That appeal will argue that the utilities commission didn’t follow the relevant law and that the decision was arbitrary and unreasonable, said staff attorney Nick Krakoff.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee reported on energy and environment for New Hampshire Bulletin. She also previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.