Formal Case No. 1119 Testimony from Madiana Mustapha

Formal Case No. 1119 Testimony from Madiana Mustapha

Testimony of Madiana Mustapha with
Economic Opportunity Studies, Inc.
400 North Capitol St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

In the Community Hearing
at the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia

Formal Case No. 1119
December 17, 2014

Good Evening!  Thank you for allowing me to speak today.  My name is Madiana Mustapha.  I am the Project Coordinator for Sustainable Financing at Economic Opportunity Studies, Inc. (EOS).

Economic Opportunity Studies, Inc. is a DC-based 501(c) (3) nonprofit.  We help Community Action Agencies nationwide enhance their partnerships with utilities, and others, to better serve low-income communities. For 15 years, EOS has been funded by the US Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program.  We provide technical assistance with an emphasis on good practices in utility programs, and in a variety of public-private partnerships. I am a native of Washington DC.  Before assuming my current position, I worked to develop affordable housing in DC with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity of Washington, DC and Manna, Inc.

The EOS Position on the proposed terms of the ‘merger’ is that the terms offered fail to enhance or protect the public interest of DC ratepayers. We urge that the Commission instead consider the following:

First, DC should share more of the predictable utility profits in a Customer Investment Fund.     $14 million is simply too small to have a direct and tangible financial benefit to ratepayers.  We support the $56 million level of funding as well as a limited timeframe for disbursement as proposed by the National Housing Trust, National Housing Trust Enterprise Preservation and the National Consumer Law Center.

Secondly, we concur with these interveners that the fund should have a set-aside for investments that ease the energy burdens of low-income DC residents.

Specifically, we support:                                                                                

  • Devoting $37 million or (67% of the $56 million) to assist low-income residential customers; and
  • Devoting $19 million or (51% of the $37 million) to energy efficiency investments in existing affordable multifamily buildings.
    • The Fund will be a one-time payment to ratepayers, not a continuous revenue stream. We believe all of it should be treated as an investment pool that supports only expenditures that offer a long-term stream of benefits including: avoided costs, air quality, sustainable growth and housing preservation. Such a pool can be the basis for leveraging additional private and federal investment with a dramatic multiplier effect.
  • Dispersing this community capital into low-impact customer credits, would be a waste of an opportunity, and would fail to change the affordability of electricity, for low-income families in the District.
    • Proven utility investment approaches that actually work to advance the preservation of affordable multifamily housing include:
  • Creating utility funded programs that are customized, comprehensive, flexible and compatible with other energy efficiency funding programs like the Weatherization Assistance Program; and
  • Creating community renewable energy projects with nonprofit organizations.

 

The federal Weatherization Assistance Program is best suited to upgrading smaller buildings, from single family homes to four-unit multifamily properties.  Despite some challenges, DC’s weatherization assistance program has contributed to reducing the energy cost burdens of the District’s low-income families by weatherizing over 10,000 homes since its inception. More than a 1/3 of these homes were weatherized by United Planning Organization, an established Community Action Agency and a consistent job-creator throughout the course of the program.

In closing, we urge the Commission to be clear about the fund’s administration; please consider such provisions as capping the administrative costs and selecting a fund administrator with a proven track record of delivering energy efficiency measures to low-income families in the District. 

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “This testimony was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.”

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