The Bulletin Board

Utilities commission’s energy efficiency decision draws lawsuit, contractor complaints

By: - November 30, 2021 11:43 am
A worker installs insulation on a roof

Clean Energy New Hampshire is suing in conjunction with energy efficiency contractors who are impacted by the decision. (Ralph Orlowski Getty Images)

Clean Energy New Hampshire announced on Monday that it would file a lawsuit over the Public Utilities Commission’s recent decision to cut funding for the state’s energy efficiency programs.

The nonprofit is suing in conjunction with energy efficiency contractors who are impacted by the decision. The organization will file suit in New Hampshire Superior Court, asking for energy efficiency funding to remain at 2020 levels.

Jason Palmer of P&M Insulation said the decision – which would cut energy efficiency funding by more than 50 percent – would cause irreparable harm to his business, forcing the company to lay off all employees or possibly close the business permanently. P&M Insulation primarily serves low-income Granite Staters.

The decision is also affecting customers who have signed up for the program but have now been put on hold indefinitely.

Rebate programs for efficient electric appliances have also been suspended. Mark D. Richards of Northwind Electric Inc. in Barrington said he has multiple projects that will be affected, including an addition to a manufacturing facility in Raymond. The customer considered buying inexpensive lighting fixtures from China, but Northwind Electric bid on the project with upgraded, more efficient American-made fixtures, using a $5,500 rebate through the program. Without the rebate program, Richards said they will likely have to purchase the imported fixtures or eat the loss of the rebate.

“We are just beginning to wrap our heads around this, but the impact will extend into the tens of thousands of dollars. This is just one more hit to the construction industry, which is already in a tailspin due to sharply escalating material prices and extended lead times,” Richards said in an email.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s energy and environment reporter. She 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.