There is not much disagreement that cost-effective energy efficiency is well worth pursuing, but is LIPA getting the most bang for the ratepayer’s buck with its $1 billion Efficiency LI program.
As part of this program, LIPA (or in reality its customers) pays contractors $660 to conduct a “free” energy audit for those interested. The problem with this, however, is that NYSERDA under its efficiency program will conduct a similar audit and pay its contractors only $235. Asking the obvious, why is there such a large disparity between the two and how can LIPA, with among the highest rates in the country, afford to be so generous.
In the same vane, LIPA just approved a $1.5 million contract for outreach and advocacy to support its efficiency and renewables efforts. Again you have to ask, why should the utility waste scarce ratepayer dollars on outreach and advocacy, especially when programs have been oversubscribed and private vendors are actively marketing. Wouldn’t that money be better utilized in providing more rebates for projects, or even better yet, maybe reducing rates?
The problem appears to be that LIPA measures its performance in the efficiency and renewables arena by how much money it spends and not by actual results. This was the case for the utility’s first wave of such programs and appears to be the same in its latest efforts.