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PennFuture Calls for State to Release Analysis of Guaranteed Energy Savings Program

PennFuture Calls for State to Release Analysis of Guaranteed Energy Savings ProgramPITTSBURGH & PHILADELPHIA. Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) today filed a Right to Know Request with the Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS), requesting any and all records pertaining to the claims made by the DGS Secretary Sheri Philips that the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA) program was flawed and not returning value to the taxpayers. This claim was made after the Corbett Administration earlier this year suspended pending GESA contracts, put the program on ‘review,’ and transferred or terminated the staff responsible for the program.

“This successful program was established by law in 2004, to allow state government agencies, municipalities, and school districts to save money and energy without investment risk,” said Christina Simeone, director of the PennFuture Energy Center. “The program allowed government agencies to use private companies to install energy conservation technology and retrofits, and to pay for those capital improvements through the energy saved. It is a win for the taxpayer, the economy, and the environment. Yet the Corbett Administration seems bent on destroying this great program for no apparent reason.

“On December 2, DGS claimed that its ‘evaluation’ had shown flaws in the program and proposed major changes in how the program is to operate in the future — changes which are likely to seriously harm the program,” continued Simeone. “But the administration has not revealed any details of this ‘evaluation,’ while requesting the public to comment on the new proposal by January 18, 2012. Without examining this ‘evaluation’ and knowing exactly why DGS is suggesting the major revisions in the program, it appears that the changes will actually make the program less effective.”

“Unfortunately, DGS has not voluntarily revealed its justification for the changes,” said George Jugovic, Jr., senior attorney for PennFuture, “So we are forced to file this formal Right to Know Request to compel DGS to hand over the documents. We intend to do all we can to guarantee that the public knows why and by whom the revisions were decided and what criteria went into these decisions. Only then can the public comment with full knowledge of the issues.”

Until the Corbett Administration suspended the GESA program, more than 12 agencies were participating with 69 projects underway. These projects guaranteed energy savings of $449 million with $379 million invested by energy savings companies. The net savings up to the time of the program suspension was $54 million.

Copies of the Right to Know Request and the DGS press release are available online at .

PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization, founded in 1998. PennFuture’s activities include litigating cases before regulatory bodies and in local, state and federal courts, advocating and advancing legislative action on a state and federal level, public education and assisting citizens in public advocacy.

Working from the premise that “Every environmental victory grows the economy,” PennFuture has successfully advocated for landmark environmental legislation, including passage of the largest-ever environmental funding bond, public investment in green energy and energy savings programs, passage of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act, adoption of the Clean Vehicles Program, and adoption of a regulation to protect Pennsylvania’s babies by restricting mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants. PennFuture has staff throughout the state, in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Wilkes-Barre. The Philadelphia Inquirer called PennFuture the “state’s leading environmental advocacy organization,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named the organization “one of the ten most influential groups on the issue of natural gas drilling,” and StateImpact Pennsylvania, an online collaboration of NPR stations across the state, called PennFuture “the commonwealth’s main environmental advocate.”

SOURCE: Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future

PennFuture Calls for State to Release Analysis of Guaranteed Energy Savings Program Tags: conservation technology, energy conservation, energy savings, guarenteed energy savings, jugovic, justification, penn state energy, pennfuture, pennsylvania department, philadelphia citizens, retrofits

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