The House Energy and Technology Company continued testimony and debate this week over whether to include language in H.739, originally introduced to add productivity investments to qualifying investments under the existing Self-Managed Energy Efficiency Program (SMEEP), to also implement a three year pilot program for more robust and flexible program for companies that don’t otherwise qualify for SMEEP to keep funds otherwise owed for the Energy Efficiency Charge to use on their own qualifying investments. The proposal reflects recommendations in the Act 77 Report issued earlier this year, which itself is one of the successor efforts stemming from legislation proposed by AIV in recent years to address the high energy costs facing Vermont manufacturers and related businesses. A number of manufacturers, most AIV members, testified in favor of the proposal last week. Click here for the amendment language.
The proposal is facing opposition, most aggressively behind the scenes, from VEIC, the monopoly appointee to serve as Efficiency Vermont outside of BED’s service territory, where that utility serves that role. Unfortunately, VEIC often opposes budgetary or programmatic changes to Efficiency Vermont and the EEC that it sees could demonstrate more cost effective policies and programs.
Efficiency Vermont can be and has been of value to manufacturers and other customers in many cases, but the system has a number of cost effectiveness and equity challenges, and the EEC funding mechanism is especially flawed and in need of innovative reform and transformation. AIV would hope that VEIC will come to serve a more cooperative partner in such reform and transformation, but success in these directions will depend primarily on employer engagement.
Although the pilot project on the table is currently limited to 20 customers, its success could help lead to additional, broader innovations and reforms that could benefit many more manufacturers and other commercial and industrial customers. Therefor we encourage all members to contact the Committee and their Representatives in support.
For more information and to learn about opportunities to get involved, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Below is more information about the proposed pilot, followed by links to help contact the Committee and your Representatives.
Overview of Proposed Pilot Program
Under the proposed amendment, qualifying companies commit average annual investments equal to what they were paying in the EEC before starting the pilot.
Participants may use their funds for electric and thermal energy efficiency measures, including productivity measures and energy storage. Funds could be used for initial technical guidance related to potential energy transformation projects with their electric utility. The total cost of energy efficient equipment and technology, including the design, purchase, and installation of new equipment or the alteration of existing equipment, can qualify if the investment increases productivity or enables the participant to demonstrate an increase in payroll. Unused funds would be returned at the end of the pilot period.
Although participants would not be eligible for normal EEU support during the pilot, Efficiency Vermont may offer consulting services to a participating customer.
Participation in the pilot project would be deducted from the EEU budget goals so that the EEC owed by non-participating companies would not be effected.
Contact the Committee and Your Representatives
Find Committee contact information by clicking here.
Find your legislators by clicking here.
Phone messages can be delivered directly in the State House by calling (802) 828-2228.