PUSH Demands Fair Conservation Program from National Fuel

On Thursday, September 2nd at 11:30 AM, PUSH Members, joined by State Senator William Stachowski, Councilmember David Rivera, and Erie County Legislator Maria Whyte, gathered outside the Public Service Commission Office in Buffalo, to formally submit public comments urging the Public Service Commission to reject National Fuel�s CIP petition and require a program that works for the community, instead of one that passes costs on to customers who can least afford it. PUSH leaders gave personal testimony on the high cost of high heating bills, as well as discuss community solutions to the problem. National Fuel has submitted a formal request to the Public Service Commission to extend its CIP program. PUSH has sought a dialogue with National Fuel CEO David Smith about ways the program could be improved to reduce heating costs and create jobs in Buffalo�s low-income neighborhoods. Thus far, the company has rebuffed PUSH�s request to offer community input. �National Fuel fails to pay for its own CIP, instead shifting the cost to its customers,� said PUSH leader Bob Cook. �The program is funded by a surcharge on customer bills, authorized by the Public Service Commission in National Fuel�s most recent rate case and the $10.8 million that National Fuel puts into the program amounts to approximately $22 per customer.� Cook continued. According to a study in Forbes, Buffalo is the 4th most expensive city to heat in the country. This forces Buffalonians to make tough choices to meet daily needs and this burden falls heaviest on the city�s poorest residents. Despite having disproportionately high heating costs, low-income customers receive less than 30% of CIP aid. Marketing, evaluation, and appliance rebates targeting well-capitalized homeowners account for the bulk of the budget. PUSH believes a real Conservation Incentive Program would include the following: �