Apr 10, 2022 –
The Community Energy Efficiency Development (CEED) Block Grant Act, HB 37 passed both chambers and was signed by Governor Lujan Grisham. The bill, which creates a grant program to implement energy efficiency measures in low-income households, benefits New Mexicans earning low incomes by bringing more affordability to utility bills and supporting those communities most impacted by climate change.
There is a strong correlation between energy efficiency and public health. Multiple studies have shown that energy insecurity, or the inability to pay energy bills, is a significant contributor to physical and mental health challenges in under-served communities. Data also show that Black and Hispanic households are more likely to experience energy insecurity and face utility disconnection, as are households with young children, individuals who require electronic medical devices, and those in dwellings with inefficient or poor conditions.
One of the causes of energy insecurity is that New Mexicans earning low incomes spend a high portion of their income on utility bills. On average, those living below the poverty line spend 15 percent of their incomes on energy bills alone. Making energy efficiency improvements in low-income housing cuts energy bills for these residents, improves the quality of affordable housing stock, and will help New Mexico achieve its climate change goals.
The CEED fund, which has received an initial appropriation of $10 million from the state, will be established at the New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources (EMNRD) and will provide block grants to local and tribal governments, and the Mortgage Finance Authority, to make targeted energy efficiency improvements in under-served communities in partnership with local community organizations.
CEED complements existing federal, state, and utility efficiency programs and will extend assistance to a number of New Mexicans living in rural areas and in poverty. EMNRD will start its rule-making process on the bill when the legislation becomes effective on July 1, 2022. When rules are complete, the fund application process will begin.