National Grid’s energy efficiency effort generated the equivalent of 528 full-time jobs last year in beleaguered Rhode Island, a state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, says a recent study.
Total payroll was $27,181,115 and average annual earnings $51,410 per job, according to the study commissioned by National Grid from the New England Clean Energy Council Institute.
Job creation – important everywhere – is especially crucial in Rhode Island where 9.1 percent of the workforce is unemployed.
National Grid is frequently credited for being one of the largest utility investors in energy efficiency in the US. The utility invested $83 million in Rhode Island energy efficiency initiatives for 2012.
Most of the jobs, more than 300, emerged from undertakings designed to save electricity, rather than natural gas. Electrical efficiency for commercial and industrial businesses generated most of the work, more than 185 jobs, followed by about 98 jobs from residential projects and about 20 from low-income programs, according to the report.
Installers made up most of the workers – auditors, electricians, plumbers, HVAC techs, weatherization workers, and related trade and professional workers. Others were trainers and educators, marketing professionals, engineers and project design specialists, rebate processors, and the like. The report also counted customer support, administrative, finance, IT, and management staff in the job total.
The utility contracts with outside companies to handle installations and other work. In all, 598 companies and agencies were involved in last year’s RI energy efficiency effort, about 71 percent of them based in the state. (The report lists the companies.)
“For more than twenty-five years Rhode Island has led the way in creating innovative energy efficiency programs that have cut our customers’ energy costs and benefited our environment,” said Timothy Horan, president of National Grid in Rhode Island. “Now we have data to prove energy efficiency is helping to drive the state’s economy.”
RI consumers also are expected to see a direct financial gain from the programs in the form of energy bill savings. Over 10 to 14 years, this amounts to about $86 million saved on electricity and $28.2 million saved on natural gas, according to the study.
The programs are funded through a charge on monthly electric and natural gas bills. More than 213,000 Rhode Island customers received energy efficiency incentives and rebates offered by the utility.
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