Adkins-Perry runs for MGED Commission on energy efficiency platform
- Mar 14, 2019 9:29 pm GMT
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"You should get another gas furnace," the energy evaluator was saying last spring to Middleboro resident Dody Adkins-Perry, who had just bought an old bungalow with a broken furnace on Wareham Street. "The price of gas is so low in Middleborough."
"No, I don't want to invest in a gas appliance in 2019," replied Adkins-Perry, who is running for Middleborough Gas and Electric Commission in the Saturday, April 6 Annual Town Election. "Gas won't stay cheap for the 40-year life of the furnace. And I don't want to release all that carbon into the atmosphere."
Since being widowed eight years ago, Adkins-Perry had been renting. She could almost see the dollars flying out the windows of her small apartment in a drafty old house on North Street. Even with the heat kept low, her winter heating bills in 2017 and 2018 averaged $230 a month.
A retired geographic information systems (GIS) analyst for the Town of Bourne, she crunched some numbers. She figured out she would be better off buying the little bungalow and making it energy efficient. This winter she installed mini-splits, a type of heat pump that both heats and cools the four-room house she shares with her cocker spaniel Tootsie.
It's one of three houses in town that qualified for a rebate from the state's Home Energy Market Value Performance (MVP) program, which helps fund non-carbon-emitting heating systems and weatherization.
Adkins-Perry is glad she didn't follow the advice of the auditor contracted by Middleborough Gas and Electric.
"I'm so much better off already than I would have been if I'd bought another gas furnace." Based on her G&E bill for January, she can tell her year-round cost of heating and cooling will be much lower. "I now have a tight, comfortable house that should still be sheltering people in another 100 years."
Adkins-Perry wants to do for all Middleborough residents - especially those who are low-income or tenants - what she did for herself: cut their energy costs and make homes more comfortable, all the while lowering their carbon footprint.
"It's really a no-brainer. We need to do this for lots more than three households a year."
Fewer than 1% of Gas and Electric customers make use of energy efficiency rebates, a very low participation rate compared with other utilities. And Middleborough does not offer any incentives for electric heat pumps or electric vehicles, which are the wave of the future and will strengthen the financial health of the municipal utility by increasing demand for electricity.
When she's not learning about energy, Adkins-Perry sings, one of her deepest passions. She regularly solos in her church choir and volunteers in the Shaw Home residents' chorus. She's a regular volunteer at the Council on Aging, where she helps in the dining room, knits for the outreach program, and square dances on Fridays.
Adkins-Perry, who studied urban planning at Yale University, has attended nearly every G&E commission meeting for the past year, boning up on how our municipal utility works.
"I have enormous respect for the complexity of what the G&E does and for its commitment to keeping costs affordable while providing great service, safety, and reliability," she says. "I believe I can help the G&E build on these strengths, to serve this wonderful community with energy for a sustainable future."