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Congratulations, PUSH Buffalo

For more than a year, People United for Sustainable Housing has sought to negotiate with National Fuel over the terms of its state-mandated conservation incentive program, which PUSH members believe should be reconfigured to direct benefit those who need the most help: low-income people living in dilapidated, energy-inefficient housing.

PUSH believes that National Fuel spends too little of the program’s $10 million—funded by a surcharge on your fuel bill—on weatherizing low-income properties, and also that National Fuel ought to kick in some of its own money toward the program, rather than funding it entirely through a surcharge on its customers. About 30 percent of the $10 million is spent on weatherization for low-income homeowners; that program is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA. About 50 percent of the funds is spent on rebates to consumers purchasing energy-efficient appliances and updating their heating systems. The remainder is spent marketing the rebate program.

National Fuel has refused any dialogue with PUSH Buffalo, even going so far as to seek a court order preventing its members from demonstrating on National Fuel property or at the home of its CEO, David F. Smith.

This week, New York State’s Public Services Commission sided with PUSH Buffalo, ordering National Fuel to sit down and talk with the activists in public hearings. Those hearings are scheduled for July 6, 3-6pm and 7-9pm, at the downtown library. There will be a rally in Lafayette Square at 2:30pm.

geoff kelly

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