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NEUAC Program Highlights Announced

June 1 --  The National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference (NEUAC) kicks off Monday, June 14 in San Antonio, Texas, with an opening address by former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, who will share his views on, among other things, the need for affordable housing for low- and middle-income families and how it is linked to the need for affordable energy.

Cisneros is currently the executive chairman of the CityView companies, which work with the nation’s leading homebuilders to create homes priced within the range of average families. CityView is a partner in building 40 communities in 12 states, including more than 7,000 homes. From 1993 to 1997, he served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. During that time, he was credited with initiating the revitalization of many of the nation’s public housing developments and with formulating policies that contributed to achieving the nation’s highest-ever homeownership rate.  As a former four-term mayor of San Antonio, he was the first Hispanic-American mayor of a major U.S. city.

Monday’s keynote lunch address features Doug McKenzie-Mohr, of McKenzie-Mohr & Associates, Inc. McKenzie-Mohr is an environmental psychologist and a leading expert in the design of programs to promote sustainable behavior. He’ll present his internationally recognized expertise in social marketing, with a particular focus on sustaining permanent behavior change while addressing low-income clients’ use of home energy. For over two decades, he has been working to incorporate scientific knowledge on behavior change into the design and delivery of community programs. His book, Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing, has become requisite reading for those who deliver programs to promote sustainable behavior.

Tuesday’s plenary session is a panel discussion titled “Gifted and Possibly Brilliant – Smart Grid’s Impacts on Low-Income Consumers.”  Panelists will explain the modernization of our electrical grid – termed Smart Grid – which promises to improve system reliability and provide an array of new products and possibilities to utility customers while empowering them to make wise choices and exert more control over energy use.  They’ll  also address whether low-income utility customers will be able to afford the cost of the new infrastructure, and be able to take advantage of the smarter grid’s benefits. In addition, several workshops throughout the conference will focus on varying aspects of smart grid. 

Tuesday’s luncheon speaker will be Karl Rábago, vice president for distributed energy services with Austin Energy, the municipal electric utility for the City of Austin, Texas.

Wednesday’s plenary session, titled “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – Today and Tomorrow,” will feature Gil Sperling, Senior Advisor for Policy and Programs in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. DOE, and Peter Roehrig, Special Assistant at the DOE for Assistant Secretary Cathy Zoi in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.  They’ll present an overview of what has been accomplished and what ARRA is expected to achieve during the next year.

For more information, visit the conference website, www.neuac.org.