An estimated 300 residents and union members from across Massachusetts ralled last week for utilities to ramp up access to and accounting of energy efficiency programs.

The Jamaica Plain rally comes as winter approaches and several groups work to make the state’s weatherization program accessible to all residents. These programs help residents identify and fix drafty windows and doors and ensure their home is as energy efficient as possible to save on heating bills.

The Green Justice Coalition, a community-labor group with more than 50 organizations as members, says that working class communities are not able to access energy efficiency programs as well as wealthier communities even though they help pay for them.

Massachusetts is in the first year of a three-year plan to improve energy efficiency in the state, a $1.4 billion effort largely paid for by electric and gas customers, according to the Green Justice Coalition.

“With winter coming and the economy still in crisis, we really need the state’s home weatherization program,’’ said Mimi Ramos, Executive Director of New England United for Justice. “Many of us live in old, drafty houses and apartments and pay high heating bills that we can’t afford.”

Ed White, vice president, Energy Products for National Grid gave this response:

"We're pleased the Green Justice Coalition is working so closely with us through the statewide process. It's input has been very valuable to the evolution of our program design and offerings to customers. We're excited about the opportunities to expand our contractor networks and to work closer with the communities we serve on energy savings and alternative energy opportunities that best fit our customers' needs. We will continue to engage broader audiences through a collaborative process as we grow the programs across the state."

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