How does that T energy efficiency program work?

Electric ratepayers are picking up 40% of $30m cost

THE MBTA plans to spend about $30 million over the next three years on energy efficiency measures, with more than 40 percent of the cost covered by $12.5 million in grants and financial incentives paid for by Massachusetts electricity ratepayers.

Officials described the arrangement as MassSAVE on steroids, a reference to the utility program that offers free energy audits and subsidized energy efficiency measures to commercial and residential building owners across the state. The program, expected to cost $2.8 billion over the next three years, is administered by the state’s utilities and financed with assessments on electric bills.

The program has had significant success, with Massachusetts named the most energy efficient state in the nation eight years in a row.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The MBTA said it plans to spend $30 million over three years installing new LED lights, lighting controls, upgraded HVAC equipment, and building automation controls at close to 50 of its properties, including garages, maintenance facilities, bus yards, and train stations.

The MBTA is the state’s largest electricity consumer, and the energy efficiency initiatives are forecasted to reduce electricity usage by 7 percent and save $2.7 million a year.

To help offset the T’s investment, Eversource Energy and National Grid, through the energy efficiency programs they administer, are kicking in a total of $9 million in incentives. The Department of Energy Resources is contributing another $3.5 million, with the bulk of those funds coming from assessments on retail electricity suppliers; the assessments are ultimately paid by electric ratepayers through charges included in their electric bills.