Earlier today, the House and Senate passed H.739, a bill that creates a three year pilot program to give Efficiency Vermont more flexibility in working with some of the largest businesses in the state on custom efficiency and energy saving programs. This bill now heads to Governor Scott’s desk before it can become law.
The Efficiency Vermont pilot program established by H.739 is capped at $2 million annually and allows Efficiency Vermont more flexibility to work with businesses who apply for the program on efficiency measures like storage and, in certain cases, reducing peak energy demand.
This bill started as an attack from a Scott Administration proposal to significantly cut efficiency programs — so our top priority was to focus on limiting the scope and negative impact. Thankfully, we were able to turn it into a modest “win” for expanding and diversifying energy efficiency services.
This three-year pilot will hopefully also prevent future attacks on efficiency programs by ensuring that the pilot is under the purview of and in partnership with Efficiency Vermont as a measure to ensure the integrity of the program and expand the benefits of system-wide efficiency to be enjoyed by all Vermonters, not just participating businesses.
Ultimately, we’re satisfied with the outcome of H.739, given the original intent. The positive outcome is the product of many parties, including VPIRG and our allies, finding common ground and compromise.
In what could be the final 48 hours of the session, we’re encouraging VPIRG members to contact the governor’s office at 1-800-649-6825 and urge him to sign H.739 into law.