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Greenlink News

Empowering New Orleans With Data

How Greenlink’s Equity Data Drove Energy Efficiency Improvements

Near the mouth of the Mississippi River sits New Orleans, a city famed for its vibrant culture, architecture, and remarkable resilience. Yet alongside these celebrated attributes, the city grapples with profound challenges: high energy burdens, a predominance of renters, and considerable impacts from urban heat islands. Notably, New Orleans faces an annual disconnection rate of 19%, underscoring the urgency of addressing these interconnected issues within the realm of power management. 

In a departure from the norm, the New Orleans City Council holds the responsibility of regulating Entergy, the primary utility serving about 450,000 residents in the city. This authority extends to mandating energy efficiency programs. However, despite the existence of these programs, their benefits often fail to reach those who need them most, resulting in significant portions of the population remaining underserved and under stress. 

Recognizing the need for quantitative data to substantiate these challenges and advocate for solutions Logan Atkinson Burke, executive director of the Alliance for Affordable Energy, the only consumer advocate nonprofit in Louisiana for utility customers, emphasized the important role of the Greenlink Equity Map (GEM). 


The top line is that we were able to use the Greenlink Equity Mapping (GEM) tool to clearly demonstrate to decision makers the need for and the availability of solutions,” said Burke.

GEM map of New Orleans' energy burden
GEM map of New Orleans' energy burden

As part of a broader coalition, called the Energy Future New Orleans Coalition,  the Alliance for Affordable Energy has urged the City Council to direct Entergy to establish an energy efficiency program specifically tailored to low-income households and neighborhoods, leveraging the insights gleaned from GEM data. In a positive development, Entergy is launching a year-long pilot project to assess the effectiveness of the program’s ability to improve lives while lowering power bills.  


The anticipated outcome is a reduction in energy bills for energy burdened homes, thereby lowering the risk of disconnection, and fostering healthier, safer, and more comfortable living conditions. Many elderly individuals and other more vulnerable individuals compromise their safety and comfort when limiting their energy use out of fear of unmanageable bills.


The Alliance’s next step involves coordinating with the New Orleans Office of Resilience & Sustainability to facilitate access to Inflation Reduction Act dollars for households that currently lack access to such programs.


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