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New technology will cut New York state’s emissions and utility bills | Crain’s New York Business

The right smart-home technologies can make these investments go further. Utilities, including Con Edison and National Grid, have innovated and enticed many customers to participate in efficiency programs. In addition, smart thermostats are foundational for other energy services such as demand response and dynamic pricing.

Of course, the broader the engagement and participation, the greater the success, and there is almost always room for improvement. Increasing customer access to energy- and cost-saving opportunities is especially crucial in New York, where electricity prices are 44% higher than the national average. And as harsh winters last into April and more costly nor’easters pummel the East Coast, it’s even more important to make sure New Yorkers have equal access to energy-efficient—and sometimes even lifesaving—technology.

The benefits of state targets and utility programs are clear, but low-income families historically have been hard to reach through these initiatives. More than 35 million American households—about one in four—struggle to afford basic energy services like electricity and natural gas. Fortunately, those with incomes up to 150% of the federal poverty income guidelines are eligible for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the largest federal program focused on energy affordability. LIHEAP each year distributes $3.3 billion in funding to states—in 2017, New York received $3 million for cooling assistance. Less fortunately, it has been estimated that only 22% of those eligible for the program receive relief.

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Op-ed: New technology will cut New York state’s emissions and utility bills | Crain’s New York Business.

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