A non-profit in Winooski, Vermont is recommending community-based approaches to customer engagement to connect energy efficiency programs with low-income and racialized households, after discovering that increased competition among service providers makes it harder for poorer households to get the clean energy advice they need.
Founded in 1986 with a mission to reduce the economic and environmental costs of energy use, the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) delivered services in 18 U.S. states and six other countries over its first decade of operation, and has operated as the country’s first energy efficiency utility since 1999. The organization says its energy efficiency and renewable energy investments since 2000 will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 110 million tonnes over the lifespans of the various projects, all beginning with “a very simple idea: The cleanest and cheapest form of energy is the energy not used.”
Over that time, nearly half of VEIC’s implementation work has benefited underserved communities, Consumer Insights Manager Nick Neverisky writes in a recent post for the Energy Central online community. But while “clean energy program providers have sought effective methods for reaching low-income and BIPOC customers,” he adds, “they have largely fallen short, putting a timely and stable transition to clean energy, nationwide, at risk.”
Thanks, VEIC, for a post here on Energy Central that pointed us to an important and timely story for The Energy Mix! Here’s the rest of our summary.