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EERS Legal Fight

WE SUPPORT

programs & policies that strengthen NH's economy, protect public health, & conserve natural resources

Help Defend Energy Efficiency!

On Friday, November 12th, the NH Public Utilities Commission effectively defunded the future of energy efficiency in the Granite State.

On this page you can find resources and materials regarding the effort to overturn this decision.

What can you do?

  1. Contact your state legislators: You can find the contact information for your representatives here, under the "Quick Links" at the top of the page. Send an email, a physical letter, or give them a call. A helpful list of talking points can be found below, but please let the message be your own.

  2. Let the PUC know they made a mistake: You can email a public comment to the Executive Director with "Public Comment on Docket 20-092" in the subject line. The address is executive.director@puc.nh.gov. Per the PUC website: "The Commission strongly urges that these electronic files be submitted in PDF (portable document format)."

  3. Write a letter to the editor for your local paper: If it's helpful, you can find a list of publications and how to submit to them here. A steady drip of these appeals will help ensure this issue remains front of mind for decision makers. Make sure to explain why this order negatively affects NH and why energy efficiency is good for the Granite State.

  4. Support Clean Energy NH: If you aren't a current member, please become a member and support our work. If you are a member, thank you! This may be an expensive fight, and we’ll need resources if we want to keep NH from backsliding.

Talking Points:

  • Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way for us to meet our energy needs. Saving a kilowatt hour by investing in better lighting, heating, or processes typically costs around half as much as building new power plants to supply rising demand. Investing in efficiency keeps electricity rates low for all Granite Staters, even those that don't take part in the incentive programs.

  • The PUC order directly contradicts the focus on energy efficiency in Governor Sununu’s 2018 update to the 10-year energy strategy.

  • This order significantly and negatively impacts small businesses that offer energy efficiency services in NH. Over 10,0000 Granite Staters work in the energy efficiency sector, and some of those businesses have already announced they will have to lay workers off in response to the decision. This order will cause Granite Staters to lose their well-paying jobs with benefits. This order will shutter small, local businesses.

  • This order rolls back years of progress on energy efficiency, ignoring the state's energy savings goals and capping and reducing budgets. 

  • There is already overwhelming evidence in the record that the settlement agreement in this docket is just and reasonable, serves the public interest, and is cost-effective. The Commission’s efforts to ignore the well-established record of cost-effective energy efficiency programs in this docket is blatantly dismissive.

  • This order strips away opportunities for the Granite State’s most vulnerable populations to take advantage of energy efficiency programs at little to no cost. Energy efficiency programs protect lives, keep homes warm, and reduce energy bills. 

  • This order disrupts and impairs the ability of NH's large businesses to make sizable investments in their energy efficiency, which stimulates NH's economy and cuts costs for large businesses.

Timeline and Links to More Information

June 6, 2020: The docket in which the details of the 2021-2023 Statewide Energy Efficiency Plan will be deliberated is opened. Stakeholders begin to deliberate and discuss a consensus plan 

December 3, 2020: The various parties intervening in the PUC docket to create the plan reach a settlement, and agree on a consensus approach to a new three year plan

December 10-22, 2020: The PUC holds five days of adjudicative hearings, exhaustively examining the evidentiary records in support of the three year plan proposed in the settlement. 

December 29, 2020: The PUC issues a "short-term extension" of the 2020 energy efficiency programs, saying that it would issue an order "within eight weeks." In reality, it would be nearly a year before the PUC issued a substantive order. 

September 1, 2021: The PUC—now composed of commissioners Dan Golder and Chairwoman Dianne Martin, following the expiration of Commissioner Kate Bailey's term—attempts to reopen the record. A few weeks later, in response to pushback about the appropriateness of this request, they rescind this order

November 12, 2021: Out of the blue, the PUC issues an order dramatically and unlawfully altering the state's foundational energy efficiency policies. The order contains decisions well beyond the scope of what was being considered in the docket. 

November 23, 2021: In collaboration with our members in the energy efficiency contractor community, Clean Energy NH announces we will ask the Superior Courts for an emergency injunction, staying the PUC order. 

December 8, 2021: Clean Energy NH and our co-plaintiffs file a lawsuit in Superior Court asking for emergency relief to avoid the worst impacts of the PUC order. 

December 10, 2021: Clean Energy NH, together with the original parties to the settlement agreement, file a motion for reconsideration of the order at the PUC. The PUC has a January 10 deadline to respond. 

December 14, 2021: Governor Chris Sununu issues a letter expressing serious concerns, stating "there are legitimate questions about how this order will affect the viability of New Hampshire's energy efficiency programs in the very near future." On the same day, the Business and Industry Association—which had expressed concerns about the settlement agreement—also files a letter with the PUC asking the PUC to stay its order.

December 27, 2021: The Merrimack County Superior Court holds a hearing on the request for injunction. Two days later, the judge denies the request, but does not dismiss the lawsuit.