Switch & Save – Network Action Team

Overview: This team started in the fall of 2021 with a goal of finding ways to replace fossil fuel equipment with non-fossil alternatives.

As a first step, the Network Action Team proposed a Switch and Save program to the Vermont Legislature in 2022 to implement a targeted program to proactively support lower-income Vermonters in installing cost-saving heat pump hot water heaters. Approximately 25,000 water heaters are replaced in Vermont each year, according to the Vermont Climate Action Plan. Currently, the vast majority of new water heaters installed (70%) are fossil fuel-fired, and only about 2,000 of the new water heaters installed each year are efficient heat pump water heaters. With each installation of fossil fuel-fired equipment, we are locking Vermonters into more price volatility and exacerbating planetary impacts.

The program was successfully adopted by the state, with $5 million dollars allocated in the Vermont FY2023 budget for this program.  This builds on existing utility and Efficiency Vermont heat pump water heater incentives to provide income-qualified Vermonters new, energy efficient heat pump water heaters at low or no cost (including electrical work). The program focuses on Vermonters with older water heaters that are at risk of failure in the near future (or those whose water heaters have just failed).  The Public Service Department has allocated the first $4 million to the efficiency utilities to provide these incentives.

The program will offer several key benefits:

  • Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings for Vermonters
  • Aid Progress Toward Climate Requirements
  • Spur Switch Out Before Equipment Fails
  • Manage Peak Electric Demand
  • Help Avoid Vermonters Locking Into Price-Volatile Fossil-Fired Systems
  • Increase Customer and Contractor Focus on Water Heaters

Network members and partners who supporte this effort:

Burlington Electric Department – Efficiency Vermont – Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission – Vermont Energy Contracting and Supply – Vermont Gas Systems – Vermont Natural Resources Council – VPIRG – Plus Advisors from Vermont utilities, community action agencies, the VT legislature and elsewhere.


Video from House Committee on Energy & Technology- co-chairs testimony- February 18, 2022

Note: Network Action Team projects were selected by the Network membership through a competitive process at the EAN annual summit.  Although Network members may support specific policy actions as part of their work on these Action Teams, EAN staff serve in the role of neutral convener and refrain from advocating for specific policies.