The Energy Consumer's Bulletin- a New England energy news blog

Energy More Affordable Now than Ever, Greener Too

Posted by Larry Chretien on Thursday, February 23, 2017 @ 01:07 PM

Americans are now spending less on energy as a percentage of income than ever recorded. That’s a finding from a recent study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. On average, consumers spend just four percent of their incomes on electricity, heat, and transportation. This statistic is a clear pushback against those who would say that “we cannot afford clean energy.” It also points out that our economy has changed over the years in such a way that we don’t need to burn as much stuff in order to make a living.

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Tags: Renewable energy, Energy efficiency

Electric Vehicles as a Public Health Tool

Posted by Anna Vanderspek on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 @ 04:02 PM

We talk a lot about the need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels to fight climate change. We run programs and support policies in an effort meet our states' greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals: in Massachusetts, the statutory requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act, in Rhode Island, the Resilient Rhode Island Act. With our climate going haywire (see the record-setting droughts, floods, and heat waves of 2016) and the emissions reductions of electric vehicles, climate change is one of the reasons we launched Drive Green with Mass Energy and People's Power & Light. But, setting climate change aside for a moment (a big ask, we know), replacing internal combustion engines on our roads with electric vehicles should still be a state priority. Why?

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Tags: Energy efficiency, Climate change

Even Renters can take advantage of a free home energy assessment!

Posted by Sophia Wright on Friday, November 11, 2016 @ 08:00 AM

As a twenty-something renting an apartment, I personally don’t have much incentive to update my heating system or install insulation for the sake of energy efficiency. In fact, since I do not own the apartment, I would need my landlord to authorize any large scale construction projects. That being said, it was still worth the two hours I took out of a workday to get a no-cost home energy assessment of my two-bedroom apartment.  And it paid off!  The time was well spent.

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Tags: Energy efficiency

2016-2018 MA Efficiency Plan Updates: Utilities exceed expectations by aiming low

Posted by Larry Chretien on Friday, October 14, 2016 @ 12:23 PM

Half-way through the first year of the 2016-2018 Efficiency Plan and utilities are on pace to be handsomely rewarded as they surpass the low goals set for themselves.


Readers of this blog know that I represent Massachusetts’ nonprofits on the state’s Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC). The EEAC is the body responsible for overseeing development and monitoring implementation of the state’s utility-run energy efficiency programs. Readers will recall that a year ago I voted against the Three-Year Plan proposed by the utilities administering energy efficiency programs.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Massachusetts, Energy efficiency

3 Ways to Prepare for this Heating Oil Season

Posted by Sophia Wright on Friday, August 12, 2016 @ 12:25 PM

As non-profit consumer advocacy organizations that have been running a Discount Heating Oil Service for 34 years, Mass Energy and People’s Power & Light want our members to save money. Savings that could be put towards making your home more energy efficient and reducing its carbon footprint. Here are some steps you can take to maintain your heating system’s efficiency, reduce your home’s energy consumption, and spread out your oil bills into predictable monthly payments.

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Tags: Energy efficiency, Home heating

Mass Save: New Energy Saving Incentives for Renters

Posted by Loie Hayes on Tuesday, August 09, 2016 @ 02:33 PM

Mass Energy is proud of our role in advocating with the Green Justice Coalition for the creation of Mass Save’s 2016 initiatives to better serve renters and moderate-income households. This blog post by Loie Hayes, Mass Energy’s resident energy efficiency expert, describes the new renter-specific Home Energy Assessments.

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Tags: Massachusetts, Energy efficiency

Save Energy: Update Your Heating Equipment

Posted by Loie Hayes and Anna Vanderspek on Sunday, March 27, 2016 @ 07:00 AM

If your heating system leaves your home too cold or burns too much fuel, it might be time to look into an upgrade.  Consumers in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island should pay close attention to incentives being offered by utilities.  Gas and oil prices have been low the last couple of years, which makes now a good time to invest some of your fuel savings into making your home more efficient.  The payoff will be big when fuel prices rebound (not if, when). Read on to learn more about the incentives and rebates in your state.

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Tags: Energy efficiency, Home heating

Having Our Cake and Eating It Too: How to use your heating oil savings wisely

Posted by Larry Chretien on Friday, January 22, 2016 @ 07:27 PM

Updated: August 10, 2017.
Compared to many years ago, the last few heating seasons have shown moderate prices and very little fluctuations. According to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA), the inventory of distillate oil (which covers heating oil and diesel fuel) is high. As a result, the likelihood of a price spike is quite low. However, the EIA does project a modest price increase of about 20 cents per gallon on average in the US between now and mid-winter.

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Tags: Renewable energy, Electric vehicles/Transportation, Energy efficiency

Top 10 Real Life Energy Saving Tips

Posted by Katy Kidwell on Thursday, December 17, 2015 @ 01:10 PM

On Earth Day 2014 we compiled a list of 10 energy saving tips from Mass Energy and People’s Power & Light members. We wanted to repost these amazing tips because now more than ever we know that energy efficiency is one of the most important and cost effective things you can do to reduce green house gas emissions.

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Tags: Energy efficiency, Our programs

What's a Heat Pump and How Can it Reduce My Oil or Gas Usage?

Posted by Maura O'Gara on Monday, November 30, 2015 @ 05:30 PM

What is a heat pump?

Heat pumps are a heating technology that can be installed in a room (or several rooms) in your home and move heat into or out of a space. A heat pump can both HEAT and COOL the air in your home. A heat pump can also be used to heat water.

Chances are you already have a heat pump in your home! Refrigerators and air conditioners use heat pumps to cool. It sounds strange to use a “heat” pump to cool, but your refrigerator or air conditioner is actually pulling the heat out of the space you want to keep cool and putting it somewhere else. When you use a heat pump for heat, it’s like running your refrigerator or air conditioner in reverse!

Are there different types of heat pumps?

Yes! All heat pumps move heat, but that heat can come from different sources. Heat pumps can use the temperatures of either the outdoor air or the ground to heat or cool homes or buildings. Heat pumps that utilize outside air are known as "air-source heat pumps." Heat pumps that use the nearly constant temperature underground are known as "ground-source heat pumps." Ground-source heat pumps require a trench or well to operate. Air sour

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Tags: Energy efficiency, Home heating