Posts tagged with "environment"

Louisiana Public Service Commission Casts Historic Vote for Energy Efficiency

Baton Rouge, La. (Jan. 24, 2024) – Together Louisiana, the state’s largest grassroots organization, is celebrating reforms passed today by the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC). The vote establishes an independent, statewide energy efficiency program with Commission oversight, solving a conflict of interest that has been hampering the LPSC’s energy efficiency efforts for the last decade. 

“Finally, our state’s residents can look forward to energy savings and lower bills as a result of the Public Service Commission’s historic vote today,” said Jodie Manale, a leader with Together Louisiana. “For too long the program meant to save energy has been administered by the companies that sell energy – the fox has been guarding the henhouse. Now that conflict of interest has been eliminated.”

Ms. Manale was joined by approximately 80 leaders with Together Louisiana from every LPSC district who attended the meeting to advocate for the reforms. 

Since 2014, the LPSC has had an energy efficiency program to help ratepayers consume less electricity and save money. Through lobbying, utility companies delayed the implementation of a “comprehensive” energy efficiency program and, instead, set up an optional program that the utility companies themselves administer. The program included a provision that compensated utility companies, from ratepayer funds, for electricity they never sold as a result of the program. These ghost recovery charges cost ratepayers $37 million over the last nine years. 

“Energy efficiency is affecting a lot of people in our community, including my 70-year-old mother,” said Dani Moses, a resident of LaPlace and leader with Together Louisiana. “It is hard to watch her struggle to pay her utility bill month after month, and ghost recovery charges make the problem even worse.”

Today’s vote at the LPSC shifted control over energy efficiency programs to an independent, third-party administrator selected by and accountable to the LPSC. The new, expanded program will fund upward of $200 million of energy efficiency investments to fix wasteful, leaky homes and businesses just in its first four years, accomplishing more in its first cycle than the existing program has for the last decade. The approved rule also removes the provision for ghost recovery charges, which means more dollars for energy efficiency investments. 

Furthermore, it will create a surge in energy efficiency projects, providing good-paying job opportunities for local union contractors and the opportunity to train new workers in apprenticeship programs.

“Today’s vote means more good paying jobs, safer weatherized homes and lower bills,” said Danny Walker, Political and Legislative Director with the South Central Pipe Trades and leader with Together Louisiana. “The expansion of the program will allow us to train more people in high wage careers and put them to work.”

About Together Louisiana 

Together Louisiana, a statewide network of more than 250 religious congregations and civic organizations across Louisiana, representing more than 200,000 people. It is one of the largest grassroots organizations in the history of Louisiana. The mission of Together Louisiana is to give faith and community-based organizations an opportunity to develop the leadership capacity of their members and affect change on a larger scale than they could alone. Together Louisiana is currently working on issues that include utility reform, workforce development, tax fairness, disaster response, access to healthcare, criminal justice reform and improving infrastructure and transportation.

COP28 Draft Agreement Calls to Move Away From Fossil Fuels

Nearly every country in the world has agreed to “transition away from fossil fuels” – the main driver of climate change – at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

It is the first time such an agreement has been reached in 28 years of international climate negotiations.

The commitment is included in the first “global stocktake” of how countries can accelerate action to meet the goals of the landmark Paris Agreement.

However, many countries walked away from the talks frustrated at the lack of a clear call for a fossil-fuel “phase-out” this decade – and at a “litany of loopholes” in the text that might enable the production and consumption of coal, oil and gas to continue.

Despite an early breakthrough on launching a fund to pay for “loss and damage” from climate change, developing countries were left disappointed by a lack of new financial commitments for transitioning away from fossil fuels and adapting to climate impacts.

COP28 president and oil executive Dr Sultan Al Jaber hailed the “world-first” achievement of getting “fossil fuels” in a UN climate change agreement.

However, his presidency was overshadowed by allegations the UAE intended to use COP28 to make oil-and-gas deals.

Read the full report from CarbonBrief HERE.

Draft COP28 Agreement.