On Friday, July 7th, the Public Utility Commission (PUC), formerly known as the Public Service Board, rejected the Scott Administration’s recommendation of an 8% cut to Efficiency Vermont’s budget. Instead, they chose to adopt the recommendation put forth by the organization that runs Efficiency Vermont, the Vermont Electric Investment Company (VEIC). This is essentially a flat budget from 2016 funding and will allow Vermont to continue investing in this critical tool for cutting our global warming pollution and saving money.
In a press release, the PUC acknowledged how cost effective efficiency resources are:
In 2015, for example, Efficiency Vermont delivered electric efficiency at a cost of approximately 4.4 cents per kWh, compared to a comparable electricity supply of 8.2 cents per kWh. “It is much cheaper to save a kWh than it is to generate a kWh,” PUC Commissioner Margaret Cheney declared.
VPIRG and Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) advocated for an increase to Efficiency Vermont’s budget in line with the 20-year projection that was produced in the last budget proceeding in 2013. This steady increase would allow the greatest number of Vermonters access to efficiency resources and have the most significant impact on reducing energy and providing savings across the state. As we stated in comments to the Commission, “Energy efficiency continues to provide energy services at about half the cost of supply resources. Reducing the amount of efficiency resources robs Vermonters of the benefits of the lowest cost resource and forces Vermonters to pay higher rates in the future.”
However, by rejecting the Scott Administration’s call for a significant decrease to Efficiency Vermont’s budget, the Commission acknowledges the great importance efficiency efforts have in our current energy transition. We will continue to advocate for efficiency to be a critical piece of our energy work in this state moving forward.