In the wake of last week’s blackouts in New York City, which were propelled by surging energy use during the East Coast heat wave, enviros are stepping up pressure on the state to increase its funding for energy conservation. Reducing demand for electricity would lessen stress on an aging power system and cut down on the likelihood of power failures, enviros say. New York was once a leader in conservation, with utilities in the state spending nearly $300 million annually in 1992 and 1993 to help subsidize the purchase of energy-efficient appliances and lighting, but spending fell to $66 million last year. By contrast, New Jersey’s utilities spent $230 million and California’s spent $415 million last year.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.