Portia Prescott’s Testimony for Tuesday, 3/28/2023:
HOUSE BILL 22-1362
Energy Code Appendix – Needed
Costs now vs Costs retrofitting
BIPOC already Priced out – New Builds
I know we need housing – new development – must be responsible
It’s an honor to be here! Thank you to the Board for this opportunity to speak. My name is Portia Prescott and I am the President of the Rocky Mountain NAACP State Conference as well as the President of the Environmental Justice Committee. Thank you for taking the time since your selection as an Energy Code Board member to develop a code that will serve all of Colorado. I am here today to bring a voice that is far too often left out of these discussions and neglected when it comes to environmental and city planning. People of color are consistently exposed to higher levels of pollution, face significantly greater public health issues, and exposed to a plethora of environmental issues. I am tired of watching Colorado residents pick between paying for medication or paying for heating. I am tired of hearing my own family members ask me if Xcel’s energy prices will ever decrease from their doubling this last year. *Insert personal anecdote here?* The time to take care of our residents, especially our low-income families, is today.
From our standpoint, we are for adding an all-electric appendix in order that communities have an educated and well-thought out framework that promotes happier and healthier living. In the long run, building electric infrastructure will generate less volatile energy bills compared to fossil fuels. Knowing that running on all-electric lowers utility bills by $289 annually and that the climate is only going to become more extreme, we must be forward thinking to help our citizens- especially energy burdened and low income communities afford these basic life necessities.
In addition to this being a financial crisis for low-income communities, we are also seeing a public health crisis. On average, Coloradans of Color are exposed to 25% more outdoor PM2.5 formed by residential gas combustion than Whites. Black Coloradans’ exposure is 70% higher than Whites’. The all-electric appendix, if adopted by localities, would move us away from burning fossil fuels in homes and toward cleaner, more efficient sources that heat our homes and do not contribute to hazardous air quality impacts.
We also stand by increasing EV readiness to 1 EV charger and 1 EV-ready space in commercial parking areas with 10 spaces or less to help support Coloradoan’s on the road. With Denver having some of the worst air pollution in the nation, it is imperative that we provide the infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles. If there is not the infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles, it can disincentivize their driving, and continue to harm our environment, citizens, and low-income communities that consistently have higher rates of asthma due to air pollution.
Lastly, we promote the opportunity for demand response controls to help off-loading peak energy. Knowing that Xcel charges 17 cents more per kilowatt hour in the summer between peak hour usage and non-peak hour usage, responsible use of energy can significantly help energy burdened communities decrease their costs.
Overall, we are here to advocate for the forward thinking that is necessary for protecting our citizens, environment, and our low-income communities that don’t get a seat at the table when discussing what’s best for them. We must address this public health and financial crises that our communities are facing NOW, before it gets even worse. Thank you for your time and effort in this, and for listening to me, and the communities I stand for, today.