WILLIAMSVILLE, NY ( WKBW ) A bus full of PUSH activists camped out on the lawn of National Fuel's Corporate Headquarters in Williamsville Friday. They claim the company's Conservation Incentive Program or CIP spends less than 30 percent of its money to weatherize low-income homes, instead spending millions more handing out rebates to well-off homeowners who buy energy efficient appliances leaving low-income customers out in the cold.
National Fuel spends over $10 million a year on its Conservation Incentive Program. The fund is paid for through a surcharge on each customers' bill. Since customers are paying for it, PUSH feels customers should have a say on how that money is spent.
"There's an energy and housing crisis in the City of Buffalo especially on the west side where the houses are old and CIP does not work for us," said Maxine Murphy, a PUSH Board Member.
"These programs are run by professionals and the measures that are taken for our weatherization program are adequate for the mission that we have," said Nancy Taylor, National Fuel Spokesperson.
In a letter to New York State Senator Bill Stachowski, the CEO of National Fuel David Smith said he has no interest in meeting with PUSH representatives. Saying he disagrees with the group's tactics and demands on this issue. But with the winter fast approaching PUSH organizers are promising to turn up the heat.
"We're not going to just give up cuz we're not just doing this for us we're doing this for our community," said Shawn Davis, a PUSH volunteer.
The group wants a meeting with Smith within the next 30 days. So far, he continues to decline the request.