Will, I recently moved to Belmont and had an energy audit done through the Mass Save program. The auditor told me that because I live in Belmont I was not eligible for several Mass Save programs, including free efficient light bulbs and no-interest loans for energy improvements. Can you explain why Belmont residents are excluded from these programs, and if there is anything that can be done to change this? Thanks!
Adriaan — I suspect that this relates to the fact that the companies that participate in Mass Save are all investor-owned utilities (in Belmont, we get electricity from the Belmont Municipal Light Department)[see Mass Save website for a list of sponsoring companies). National Grid, which provides natural gas service in Belmont, does participate in Mass Save. You might want to contact BMLD to find out if they have anything comparable to the programs you were interested in. Another source of information is the Mass. Department of Energy Resources.
Yes, Helen’s answer is just right. BMLD does have energy audit programs.
Thanks, Will and Helen, for the helpful info.
I understand why towns with a muni electric co. would have separate programs for electric upgrades, but I’m not sure why the Mass Save HEAT loan is not available to National Grid customers who live in Belmont. This is a 0-interest loan for 7 years of up to $25k for energy upgrades like solar water heaters, heat on demand water, and high-efficiency heating systems. Several of my neighbors have said they would have made an upgrade if they had access to a HEAT loan. If this program were available to Belmont residents I think we would see a significant reduction in our town’s carbon footprint. Is there anything that can be done about this?
Also, I called BMLD, and they do do audits and have an appliance rebate program, but it would be nice if they also replaced all the light bulbs with compact fluorescents the way Mass Save does in other towns. (BMLD will give you one free light bulb each month if you pay your bill in person; this seems like a program designed to insure as little participation as possible).
Sorry Adriaan — missed this inquiry. This is a good question.
We will follow up.
My aide reports that, according to Belmont Light, the BMLD Advisory Board studied the economics of joining the Mass Save HEAT program and found that Belmont can do better by itself. There would be a high cost to BML to participate and manage the program. It is an energy transfer thing and right now there are no people in Belmont who heat their homes with electricity. Most municipals have taken the option of not paying into MassSave.
BMLD agrees that people who pay their bills on line or by check certainly should be treated fairly are open to developing a mechanism by which they can get their compact fluorescent bulbs. It appears that the only reason they favor in-person payers is that it allows them to hand them the bulbs.
Will – you write that BMLD says it “found that Belmont can do better by itself”– but as far as I’m aware, BMLD has not taken steps to establish any such alternative program. Am I missing something? If not, then in what way can it be said that BMLD is doing better by itself?
This seems to me to be the same argument BMLD uses about not joining Commonwealth Solar– and in parallel form, have done exactly nothing to make their own equivalent program.
That’s BMLD’s judgment, not mine. But I’d hear their position as being that the rate add-on that people would pay to participate would exceed in aggregate the likely benefits that people in the town would retrieve.
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