EAN’s 2016 Annual Report
Read our 2016 Annual Report.
Vermonters use a lot of energy – we live in a cold climate and, as a rural state, often drive long distances to work, schools, for services, and to see family and friends. These energy costs create a significant financial burden for all Vermonters, and particularly for households and families who can least afford it.
How does 90% by 2050 make energy more affordable? Through efficiency and affordable renewables. Emphasizing efficiency means reducing costs by using energy more efficiently to heat and power our homes – or to get to where we need to go. This generates savings year in and year out. Powering our homes, businesses and cars with affordable renewables ensures low and stable prices or decades to come.
Incentives reduce cost of energy efficiency investments that help lower energy energy bills and achieve long-term savings.
Action: Vermont’s energy efficiency utilities (Efficiency Vermont, Burlington Electric Department and Vermont Gas) and the Clean Energy Development Fund provide a range of incentives for weatherization, home energy retrofits, heat pumps, modern wood heat, electric or plug-in hybrid cars and more.
Flexible, fast, low-interest/longer-term loans make energy improvements more affordable, especially when combined with other federal and state incentives.
Action: Examples include VSECU’s Heat Saver and VGreen Loan programs and NeighborWorks of Western Vermont’s Energy Loan (for low income Vermonters).
Low-income households who spend up to 27% of their household income on electricity and heating.
Action: Capstone Community Action, Central Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity, NeighborWorks of Western Vermont, and Efficiency Vermont have helped thousands of Vermonters achieve significant savings, with additional assistance for low-income households who spend up to 27% of their household income on energy.
Navigating the complexities of home energy efficiency and renewables decisions can be a daunting barrier to achieving energy savings. Wraparound assistance is a critical piece of the puzzle.
Action: The Heat Squad program of NeighborWorks of Western Vermont and Capstone Community Action are integrated customer service programs to guide homeowners through this process. GMP is piloting full building retrofits through their eHome program and emerging eVolve Panton initiative in partnership with Efficiency Vermont provides helpline assistance. Vital Communities is launching a Weatherize campaign to help residents identify efficiency priorities.
New energy technologies, and rapidly dropping costs, provide an opportunity to help all Vermonters access new ways to lower their energy bills.
Action: Many solar companies now offer solar to homeowners with no upfront capital investment (REV provides a list of solar companies). Plug-in vehicles cost less than half to operate than gas powered vehicles and can be purchased or leased at competitive rates. Switching to Cold Climate Heat Pumps or modern wood heat can generate significant savings.
The combined efforts of our efficiency utilities to help lower energy bills and our electric utilities to help lower rates makes for higher savings for ALL Vermonters.
Action: 90% of Vermonters have participated in energy efficiency programs and every $1 invested in efficiency is yielding $2 in savings. Vermont is also the only state in New England to see a drop in residential electric rates since 2012 – we now pay 12% less than we did five years ago.