Debate Over Utility Refunds Reaches Lawmakers

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Debate is heating up among Vermont lawmakers about a payback due to utility ratepayers now that their electric company is being sold.

The question is whether ratepayers who paid to help get Central Vermont Public Service out of financial trouble a decade ago should get their money back in cash or have the newly merged company step up energy efficiency measures.

CVPS is trying to merge with Green Mountain Power and its parent company, Montreal-based Gaz Metro. GMP spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure says her company is proposing to repay $21 million to ratepayers with efficiency investments that will return $40 million in value to those ratepayers over time.

The consumer group AARP says the money should be returned to CVPS ratepayers in cash.

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