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Release Date: Friday, January 26, 2001

New York Increases Public Benefits Funding

As California deals with Stage Three energy alerts and rolling blackouts and the rest of the nation copes with higher energy prices, the Alliance to Save Energy credits New York State for its farsighted decision to double its support for energy efficiency and other forms of clean energy. While several states have renewed their public benefits support for clean energy, none has increased its commitment at this funding level.

"At this critical time on the energy front, New York's $750 million five-year commitment marks the largest increase in public benefits funding in the nation. One of the leading states on energy efficiency support and funding, New York should be a model for the nation's energy policy," said Alliance President David M. Nemtzow.

Alliance research shows that 23 states have undertaken some form of electricity industry deregulation, and 17 of these states have established public benefit funds. In addition, two states have adopted public benefit funds without deregulating their electricity markets.

These public benefit funds collect small amounts from each electricity customer, typically around one percent of the bill, to fund energy efficiency, renewable energy, low-income energy programs, and research and development. Of the 19 states with public benefit funds, 15 states have included funds to support energy efficiency programs, which are expected to total more than $800 million this year.

Energy efficiency public benefits funds in New York support such initiatives as promotion of ENERGY STAR products for home and business, increased efficiency in new construction, intensive consumer education, and other activities designed to develop markets for high-efficiency products and practices.