Public Advocate Slater moves to Energize Delaware
DOVER – Andrew “Drew” Slater, the state’s public advocate for the last six years, has taken the helm at Energize Delaware, the nonprofit that helps residents, businesses, nonprofits, government facilities, farms, faith organizations and schools become energy efficient.
Slater will succeed founding Executive Director Anthony “Tony” DePrima, who is retiring after 11 years in leading the organization known legally as the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility. A national search was reportedly conducted for DePrima’s successor, and the board unanimously approved the local choice.
Marketed publicly as Energize Delaware, the nonprofit gives energy-efficiency grants and low-interest loans to qualified borrowers, helping them to install solar panels or to make energy-efficiency upgrades.
As the state official tasked with representing ratepayers before Delawares’ Public Service Commission, Slater was already well aware of the nonprofit’s work, as he sat on their board.
“Drew Slater has everything it takes to move the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility Inc. and its Energize Delaware brand forward into the future,” DePrima said in a statement. “He has a deep knowledge of energy, and he is well networked in Delaware. As a former board member, he knows how we work. And he has a winning personality and believes deeply in sustainability.”
Slater told Delaware Business Times that he pursued the opportunity because he is passionate about efforts in energy-efficiency, renewable energy and emerging technologies.
“It’s a really exciting time to get to work on these issues,” he said, noting the state’s approved Climate Action Plan, the growth of solar adoption and the research into green hydrogen in Delaware.
In departing the Office of the Public Advocate, Slater leaves a legacy of strong representation marked by successful rate reductions under the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, strengthening the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), the completion of the Artificial Island project to increase electric transmission reliability, and securing of a must-run order at the coal-fired Indian River Generating Station to ensure grid reliability while it is phased out of service.
Ruth Ann Price, who has served as deputy public advocate, will become acting public advocate until a candidate is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Delaware State Senate.
“Drew’s knowledge and steadfast commitment to ensuring that Delawareans have the lowest reasonable utility rates will be sorely missed,” Secretary of State Jeff Bullock, who oversees the Office of the Public Advocate, said in a statement. “In my years in state government, no one has been a more vocal advocate for consumers. Drew will have a great opportunity to promote clean and affordable energy in his new role, and I wish him well.”
While Slater said he is still getting up to speed on the status of all of Energize Delaware’s programs, he believes the nonprofit is poised to help many residents and small businesses cut their carbon footprint and decrease greenhouse gas emissions amid the energy transition toward renewables.
Energize Delaware has programs that provide free energy audits of a home to reduce energy costs and consumption, finance energy-efficiency technology in commercial projects over the long term and even help places of worship to install solar arrays. He recalled one client who did a home energy audit and applied for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) subsidies, and they were able to reduce the annual energy costs by $500 in a year.
“There’s a lot of unique opportunities that this energy transition is providing us,” he said.