April State Policy Updates
April State Policy Updates
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, virtually every state has put in place a work stoppage on their residential energy efficiency retrofit programs. The Building Performance Association has been very active in working with state contractors and industry allies to find ways and funding mechanisms to keep the skilled energy efficiency workforce in place and small businesses in a position to hopefully, emerge even stronger once it is safe to get back to work.
In general, BPA has advocated for continued funding for contractors and energy efficiency businesses for online training programs and for continued compensation for administrative services and scheduling tasks related to the energy efficiency upgrades that will take place after the COVID-19 crisis. BPA has also worked with utilities and state administrators to provide funding for remote data gathering programs that can assemble valuable on-site information from customers scheduled to for future residential energy efficiency work. BPA has also been very active hosting webinars and providing online information at https://www.building-performance.org/coronavirus on state and local emergency loan and grant programs.
Some recent examples of BPA’s state activities have included New York where on April 2, 2020, the Building Performance Association, the Association for Energy Affordability, Inc., E4TheFuture and Performance Systems Development, Inc. filed joint comments with the New York State Public Service Commission in Case 18-M-0084 responding to the unprecedented public health crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the residential building energy efficiency industry. The joint comments called for a variety of emergency responses including that “the State and utilities should provide funds for training organizations to reformulate training to meet the existing circumstances…and should provide funding to energy efficiency employers for the salaries of workers undergoing online training.” BPA’s efforts will continue to provide comments and guidance on a recent NYSERDA announcement allowing for remote “comfort Home assessments” and other ongoing energy efficiency service work.
In Connecticut – BPA has been working in partnership with E4TheFuture, Energy Efficiencies Solutions EES and CT Efficiency for All to provide comments and feedback to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) on COVID-19 response measures. BPA has submitted comments to DEEP and will be submitting additional written comments by 4:00 pm on Friday, April 17, 2020 on Online Workforce development programs and other interim response measures. BPA has also been supporting CT Efficiency for All efforts to further inform DEEP of contractor concerns and proposed solutions. The next opportunity for input in Connecticut will be during the next DEEP Contractor Technical Advisory Committee (CTAC) meeting at 9:00AM on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 where DEEP expects to discuss the concept of remote audits. The CTAC meeting can be accessed, via webinar, by registering here: https://ctdeep.zoom.us/j/872567817.
BPA will continue to monitor and advocate on behalf of energy efficiency industry partners at the state and local level and will continue to partner with state, regional and national non-profit organizations on behalf of contractors and small businesses in light of the COVID-19 crisis. Please reach out to JCullen@building-performance.org with opportunities for comments and upcoming COVID-19 webinars and events in your state.