New report highlights impact of energy costs to Vermont households

Burlington, VT

Nearly half of household energy spending is from transportation costs, a new study from Efficiency Vermont finds. The 2019 Energy Burden Report examines energy burden and how it can be used to inform energy programs.

Key findings include:

  • Transportation energy spending makes up nearly half of household energy spending (45%), with thermal energy following at 35% and electricity spending making up the remaining 20%.
  • Vermonters on average spend over $2,500 annually on transportation fuels alone.
  • Energy burden is around 10% on average for Vermont households, with spending on energy costing households over $5,800.
  • Energy burden significantly varies by town, from 6% to 20%, due to differences in energy spending and differences in income between towns.

Energy burden is a simple calculation expressing energy spending as a percent of income which demonstrates the impact of energy expenses on a household. The report shows the difference in energy burden town-by-town across Vermont and discusses the impact of energy programs on reducing energy burden for Vermont households.

“Vermonters feel the impact of energy choices on their budgets each month. For many families, energy expenses compete with other needs like housing, food, and healthcare,” said Rebecca Foster, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “By understanding energy burden, rather than just energy spending, we can design and adapt programs to reduce costs for Vermonters who are most challenged by energy costs.”

The Vermont Energy Burden Report builds on analysis first commissioned by Efficiency Vermont in 2016. The report discusses methods to reduce energy burden through efficiency programs and economic development. For each energy sector, the report profiles three highly-burdened communities and identifies programs available in Vermont to reduce energy costs for high burdened households in those communities.

“Affordability is a challenge and a concern for Vermonters and this report is an important reminder that affordability varies by region, making it a matter of economic equity,” said Governor Phil Scott. “Efficiency Vermont deserves a lot of credit for acknowledging that for our investments to help the people and communities who need it most, our decisions must be data-driven. I appreciate their work to help reverse the growing economic inequity across counties by taking a close look at the percent of household income spent on energy and to understand where, and why, the energy burden on a household is highest.”

The report also details programs Efficiency Vermont has expanded or modified to better reach high burdened households, including a program that provides free appliances and heating equipment to low-income households with high electric energy burdens. Research on town energy burden has also informed Efficiency Vermont’s Targeted Communities Program, which offers direct outreach and enhanced incentives to towns with high energy burdens, like St. Johnsbury, Bellows Falls, and Rutland.

To download a copy of the full report, visit www.efficiencyvermont.com/vermont-energy-burden

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.

Efficiency Vermont
Jeff Buell
Phone: (802) 540-7662
jbuell@veic.org