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Weatherize Concord program stalled by delay in NH Saves update

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Monitor staff
Published: 4/13/2021 11:27:14 AM

A delay by regulators updating a state efficiency program has left 32 Concord buildings in limbo as they wait for help to cut their energy use.

“It was a bit of a surprise because both Liberty Utilities and Unitil had consistently communicated to the energy committee and city administration … that the most recent iteration delay would not affect the project in 2021,” said Councilor Rob Werner, who chairs the city’s Energy and Environment Advisory Committee.

The committee oversees Weatherize Concord, a program that hoped to provide assistance to 80 buildings this year via a long-standing program called NH Saves.

NH Saves, which is funded by the state’s four electric and gas utilities using money collected from ratepayers, helps with energy audits and weatherization programs that help reduce wasted energy.

The program was going to be updated starting this year and the utilities had proposed a more expansive program but it was held up when some legislators raised concern about the upfront cost on bills, especially during the pandemic. 

The PUC has been reworking the standards since then but the delay has led Liberty Utilities, which covers most of Concord, to postpone its participation.

“Last week …they said the funding to carry out the project wasn’t present,” Werner said. “We’ve got 32 projects approved, audited, on a waiting list. … If the PUC commissioners woke up tomorrow morning and decided it’s ready to go, we could go.”

The city held a Weatherize Concord Launch Event by Zoom last month and marked the push with banners on South Main Street and Loudon Road.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)


David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog granitegeek.org, as well as moderator of the monthly Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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