Efficiency Vermont joins effort to reduce energy burden of transportation
Efficiency Vermont’s work to reduce Vermonters’ energy burdens and greenhouse gas emissions will expand, as it joins the effort to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the state. Until now, Efficiency Vermont’s work has been limited to helping Vermonters save energy in buildings, but thanks to a recent ruling by the Vermont Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Efficiency Vermont will expand into the transportation sector as well.
Efficiency Vermont’s approved plan was enabled by Act 151, which was passed by the Vermont Legislature in 2020 and Gov. Phil Scott signed it into law. The Act allows the state’s electric energy efficiency utilities to use a portion of the Energy Efficiency Charge (EEC) – the surcharge on Vermont electric bills that funds the majority of Efficiency Vermont’s budget – for greenhouse gas emissions reduction programs Act 151 is a three-year pilot program that redirects existing funds for transportation and heating programs.
Since 2000, customer participation in Efficiency Vermont programs has helped Vermont avoid 12 million tons of CO2 and save $2.8 billion in energy costs over the lifetime of those investments. Efficiency Vermont has achieved that success by bolstering incentives with consumer education and marketing to increase customer demand, and supply chain coordination to ensure efficiency expertise and products are available to meet that demand.
“We are excited to apply the lessons we’ve learned helping Vermonters save energy in their homes and businesses, to making a switch to cleaner EVs that have a lower overall cost of ownership,” said Carol Weston, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “Great work is already happening in the transportation sector, and we look forward to joining our partners to accelerate that success.”
About 45 percent of the money Vermonters spend on energy goes toward transportation. Switching to EVs could help lower that energy burden. Comparing operating costs, including cost per mile and maintenance costs, EV drivers in rural Vermont stand to save roughly $1,500 during the first year of ownership, and over $21,000 over a 14-year lifetime of the vehicle, according to a recent report by Energy Action Network.
Efficiency Vermont’s scope will expand within the confines of its current budget approved by the PUC, without increasing the EEC that appears on Vermont electric bills.
With a goal of increasing the volume of plug-in EVs purchased and accelerating Vermont’s shift to electricity-based transportation, Efficiency Vermont will pilot transportation programs in two key areas that support existing state, federal, and utility electric vehicle incentives:
EV education and awareness
In pursuit of driving customer engagement in its energy efficiency programs, Efficiency Vermont has built an effective, statewide communications program that reaches Vermont residents, businesses, contractors, and stakeholders. Efficiency Vermont will use its communications channels to drive increased public awareness of the benefits of switching to EVs, in collaboration with Drive Electric Vermont.
Strengthening the supply chain
Efficiency Vermont will apply its expertise in working with the supply chain to support Vermont’s automobile dealers as they develop the EV market. Efficiency Vermont is currently engaging new and used car dealers around the state to design programs that will enhance the consumer experience of buying or leasing an electric vehicle. This may include specialized EV training to sales and service professionals as well as financial support for dealers to invest in infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles, such as charging stations and service equipment at dealer facilities.
“Vermont’s electric utilities offer customers powerful financial incentives, that when combined with state and federal incentives make the cost of purchasing an EV much more affordable,” said David Roberts of Drive Electric Vermont. “Awareness and a seamless purchasing experience are important to drive more Vermonters to take advantage of these incentives and make the switch, and Efficiency Vermont’s programs will support these critical market drivers.”
“Vermont auto dealers are supporting vehicle electrification across the state,” Marilyn Miller of the Vermont Vehicle and Automotive Distributors Association stated. “Growing consumer awareness of the availability and affordability of EVs is crucial to motivating higher adoption. Dealerships are also challenged to invest in facilities and training to support EV sales, so this new partnership with Efficiency Vermont will be very helpful as dealers continue their EV initiatives.”
Efficiency Vermont expects to launch its EV education campaign and dealer support programs this fall.
About Efficiency Vermont
As the nation’s first Energy Efficiency Utility, Efficiency Vermont has helped Vermont avoid over 12 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program for sustained excellence award for the last six consecutive years. Efficiency Vermont works with partners to help our state transition to a more affordable, low carbon energy future through education, incentives, and support for our clean energy workforce. For more information, contact Efficiency Vermont at (888) 921-5990 or visit www.efficiencyvermont.com.
Phone: (802) 540-7662