Vermont's Split Opinion on New Bill

renewablethumbnaiolcopyMONTPELIER- A new bill has been given preliminary approval by the Vermont House, with a vote of 127 to 11. The bill will require utilities to sell renewable electricity, some of which will come from wind, solar, and bio-methane sources that are in-state. The bill, H.40, is a program that will also reduce fossil fuel consumption by the electric utilitie's customers.
With the current policy, there is a risk of a 6% electricity rate increase expected for next year, but the new policy, also known as Tier Three, it is likely to reduce that risk. 
 
At the same time, Tier Three will allow utilities to work with Efficiency Vermont and to utilize the existing infrastructure to help reduce the cost of complying with the program. This is because it will likely change the cost for customers, and alter the state's long-term goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  
 
However, not all are on board with the energy portion of the bill, as it requires new heating technologies, along with incentives for future weatherization projects.
 
The House Minority Leader Representative of Milton, Republican Don Turner stated, "We feel it creates a duplicative process and now the utilities will be competing with Efficiency Vermont."  
 
In comparison, Darren Springer, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Public Service, said "If you lose tier three, you lose the $275 million in customer savings, you lose half of the greenhouse gas emission benefits of the bill, and you turn what would be a fairly neutral to modestly positive rate benefit into something that is a more significant rate impact."  
 
Governor, Peter Shumlin, is on board with the bill, and has said the bill will "grow jobs, reduce energy costs for Vermonters, and make tremendous progress in our efforts to fight climate change."
 
The bill still needs to be passed in the House and Senate after Friday's first preliminary approval.