Vermont Increases Funding for Efficiency Programs, Sets New Standards for Appliances

May 18, 2006

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas signed into law on May 16 a bill that increases the energy efficiency of furnaces and electrical appliances sold in the state and filed for a mid-year budget increase for the state's energy efficiency program. Vermont becomes the seventh state in New England to establish its own efficiency standards for appliances.

The Vermont Legislature had debated the bill for more than six years while the governor pushed for standards that were similar to those in neighboring states. The governor wanted this provision so that Vermont residents did not pay an excessive premium for efficient appliances. Among others, the appliances included in this bill are:

  • Incandescent reflector lamps
  • Laptop computers
  • Medium voltage dry-type transformers
  • Metal halide light fixtures
  • Power cords for cell phones
  • Residential furnaces and boilers

The governor said the new standards are expected to save more than 40 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and enough natural gas to heat 1,000 homes per year by 2012. Douglas said, "As we face challenges related to the cost and supply of energy, coupled with the global environmental impact of fossil fuels, we must remain committed to energy efficiency and environmental protection."

For details, see an article in the May 17 edition of the Rutland Herald.

The day after Governor Douglas signed the appliance bill, he sent a recommendation to the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) for increasing the funding to Efficiency Vermont by $5.3 million. This represents a funding increase of 30% over the next 2.5 years to help Vermonters to save energy. PSB Commissioner O'Brien said the recommendations had undergone extensive analysis about the impact of this funding increase on rates and the achievable potential for energy efficiency in Vermont.

Efficiency Vermont is an independent statewide provider of energy efficiency services that is operated by a nonprofit organization under contract to the PSB. The program provides technical advice, financial assistance and design guidance to help make Vermont homes, farms, and businesses energy efficient. For more information, see the governor's May 17 press release.