Thank you for highlighting the concerns of environmental justice groups and advocates in the article “Program would adapt heat pump incentives” by Sabrina Shankman (page A1, February 2). The new plan rejected recommendations that pushed for transparency around demographics and instead prioritized municipal turnouts.
Residents of 38 underserved communities relied on the Department of Public Services to implement the actions needed to increase access to the benefits of energy efficiency in their neighborhoods. According to a report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, “African American households experienced a 64% higher median energy load than white households in 2020.” Inequalities are only expected to increase if the DPU does not address the roots of access disparities with an intersectional lens.
Our state needs robust protocols that can remove barriers to access so that every resident can air-condition and electrify their home, regardless of race, level of English proficiency, and income. Despite changes to the original recommended plan, DPU and Mass Save program administrators need to build trusting relationships with underserved communities and invest more in multilingual outreach than ever before.
Climate Justice Organizer
Clean water action