Roaring Fork Valley

This week we are raising awareness about energy efficiency programs in the Holy Cross Energy Co-op territory, proposing a possible significant change, and organizing support for improved programs.  Our members and supporters are writing to Holy Cross Energy asking them to consider a merger of sorts with Energy Smart Colorado (ESC) and Garfield Clean Energy (GCE).  ESC/GCE offer much more comprehensive programs than Holy Cross (better rebates and more projects available to more people).

Holy Cross’s strength (in this realm) is their billing system.  They have the unique opportunity to facilitate long term, low interest financing to members for energy efficiency work.  This could create a net monthly savings situation, where monthly energy saved is greater than the monthly project repayment.  By adding the financing as a line item on the electric bill they can stretch the terms out to 15-20 years and offer interest rates maybe as low as 0%.  The financing (and the net savings) stays with the property, transferring from resident to resident with the electric bill until it is paid off.   Midwest Energy (a co-op like Holy Cross) in Kansas pioneered this tactic in 2007 and they’ve won five national awards and co-ops in 3 other states have picked up their program.  It’s called how$mart and smart co-ops around the country are taking notice.

Holy Cross may be able to offer to finance the ESC and GCE programs through the electric bill for participating members.  This would simplify things for Holy Cross by eliminating their duplicitous programs and freeing up funds for other priorities (like renewable energy technologies).  They wouldn’t have to worry about the banking or administering aspects because ESC/GCE are already dong that.  All Holy Cross has to do facilitate the best possible efficiency programs is put monthly payments on the electric bill and pass the payment through to ESC/GCE.

You can help by asking Holy Cross to do this, remembering to vote in the board of director elections each spring, and maybe running for the board yourself.  Participating in your local electric co-op is the best way to shape energy policy at home, statewide, and nationally.  If you want to see more sustainable energy practices in the future, then you need to get involved today!

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