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Lowering Vermont’s cost for energy efficiency savings

by Karen Glitman, Director of Efficiency Vermont

Did you know that an Energy Efficiency Charge (EEC) appears on your electricity bills? This charge supports projects to help reduce electricity usage for all Vermonters. In February of 2018, Vermonters will see a rate change take effect on the energy efficiency charge on their electric bills. 

Year after year, Efficiency Vermont delivers energy savings and we appreciate the trust placed in us to deliver cost-effective results.  In 2018, Efficiency Vermont will deliver the same level of service and energy savings for a lower overall cost than in previous years. It’s a challenge that will help us find new levels of operational efficiency. We will take this as an opportunity to demonstrate the value of energy efficiency and to honor the investment of Vermonters.

Vermont ratepayers will pay less for energy efficiency in 2018.  How will we be able to achieve this?  We released Efficiency Vermont’s plan for the delivery of energy efficiency services in 2018-2020 to the Vermont Public Utilities Commission. This 3-year plan is a roadmap to incentivizing hundreds of millions of dollars in energy efficiency investments and savings for residents and businesses for a lower cost.

Efficiency Vermont’s 2018 budget will decrease by 5 percent and remain level in 2019 and 2020. Over the full three-year planning period, we’ll increase energy savings by 11 percent. That’s good news for customers who will save $82.5 million over the lifetime of the energy efficiency improvements they invested in during 2016.

Why is the overall cost of energy efficiency decreasing?

The decreasing overall cost of energy efficiency is based on Efficiency Vermont’s lower budget for 2018.  Efficiency Vermont proposed this budget to the Vermont Public Utilities Commission. We believe we can maintain the same level of energy savings we’ve achieved in recent years for less cost. In times when Vermonters are looking for more affordability in their lives, it’s important for us to be a part of that solution.

What will this mean for Vermont ratepayers?

In 2018, commercial customers will see a rate decrease of 8.4 percent and industrial customers will see an 11.1 percent decrease. Residential customers will have a slight increase of 1 percent, which comes to about 8 cents per month for the average customer. While we were hopeful that the residential rate would also see a decrease, due to the under-collection of EEC funds in 2017 that was not possible. Visit the PUC website for more information about how the PUC sets the EEC rate.

Energy saved is the cleanest, cheapest energy source

Energy that is saved (never used) is the cleanest, cheapest energy source there is. It helps Vermont avoid purchasing more expensive energy supply. In fact, energy efficiency savings now meet about 15 percent of Vermont’s electricity needs. Thanks to customers who invest in energy efficiency, the overall cost of electricity for everyone is kept lower than it would otherwise be.

As our three-year plan makes clear, those savings will continue for years to come. The plan, recently delivered to the Vermont Public Utility Commission, reflects numerous goals, including:

  • $687 million in lifetime customer savings from efficiency investments in 2018-2020
  • $200 million invested with local business through Efficiency Vermont customers purchasing efficient goods and services
  • A commitment to be the least expensive electricity source. The cost of saving electricity with efficiency is 3.3 cents, versus 9.2 cents, which is the cost of supplying electricity.

Our plans for the next three years include expanding our work on LED fixtures and controls for residential and commercial customers and increasing emphasis on heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R) technologies.  We will work with manufacturers and other businesses to identify improvements for pumps, motor controls, compressed air systems, and heating and cooling systems.

As we help Vermonters address today’s energy needs, we’re also supporting our state’s aims for a secure energy future. Efficiency Vermont is aware of and testing the rapidly evolving technologies and methods that present new opportunities to deepen efficiency’s beneficial impact in Vermont. We are proud to align our efforts with the State of Vermont’s goals to increase the percentage of renewable power in the state’s energy mix, to reduce carbon emissions.

The next three years and beyond

Vermont has made enormous progress in increasing energy efficiency savings in the 17 years since Efficiency Vermont was established. In every county of our state, we have the privilege of helping reduce the energy burden of hardworking Vermonters–from the business owner trying to cut overhead expenses, to the family making sacrifices to pay heating bills. We provide useful advice and financial assistance to help Vermonters lower their energy costs so they can improve their homes, businesses, institutions, and communities. It all adds up to big financial savings, thousands of tons in averted carbon emissions, significant benefits for low-income Vermonters, and a thriving energy efficiency economy. Efficiency Vermont’s efforts contribute to the more than 10,900 energy efficiency jobs in Vermont – jobs across the spectrum, from equipment suppliers to retailers to building and lighting design firms. Our support of the efficiency sector – through workforce-development training, technical support, and promotional assistance -- strengthens employers, reduces consumer prices, and ensures that top-quality efficiency goods and skilled services are available statewide.

Efficiency Vermont brings efficiency within reach for the more than 125,000 Vermonters who live in fuel poverty – meaning that they spend over 10 percent of their income on energy. In addition to reducing energy costs, efficient housing delivers cleaner indoor air and healthier indoor temperatures, saving low-income households more than a thousand dollars per year in health costs and lost days of work.

What we know is true, is that in the next three years and beyond, Efficiency Vermont will continue to help Vermonters meet their energy needs.  Energy efficiency is low-cost and clean and we are proud to bring this resource to all Vermonters.

To learn more about our three-year plan we invite you to read our 2018-2020 Triennial Plan, first submitted to the Vermont Public Utilities Commission on November 16, 2017.


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