Survey eyes energy needs

The Otsego County Energy Task Force met with business members in a webinar Tuesday, Sept. 8, designed to restart momentum amid the coronavirus pandemic and alert business owners about the group’s energy needs survey. 

“Today went very well,” Otsego County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Ann Heegan told The Daily Star. “We really need participation from the business community on our survey to get a good assessment of what business needs are in order to create a county energy road map.”

Heegan, who is the chair of the group’s economic development subcommittee, said 22 businesses participated in the program, which had presentations from task force facilitator Jim Yienger of Climate Action Associates, subcommittee member Wayne Mellor and Bennett Sandler, the campaign director of Heat Smart Mohawk Valley. 

Otsego County Rep. Michele Farwell, D-Butternuts, Morris, Pittsfield, introduced the panel and talked about the impetus for the county starting the task force. She said the task force’s goal is to balance environmental sustainability with the needs of businesses and the well being of residents. 

“The survey is a big thing we want to stress,” she said. “They are interested in what businesses have to say.” 

Heegan said Mellor and Sandler also tried to stress the benefits of business being energy efficient is green in more than one way.

“Saving them money, that is very, very important,” Heegan said. “We want to reinforce the value proposition.” 

The county Board of Representatives formed the task force nearly a year ago, but much of its work was paused because of the coronavirus pandemic. Farwell said the economic development subcommittee was a notable exception.

“We have been on pause with everything else going on, but we are trying to get it going again,” she said, “but Barbara Ann’s group, they’ve been meeting all along. It looks like a pretty good survey they have put together.”

Heegan said she kept the subcommittee working because, “we feel the economy was a priority to keep us moving and because the energy component is so important to businesses.”

Businesses can go to to take the task force survey. 

Greg Klein, staff writer, can be reached at or 607-441-7218.

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