(Host) The Douglas administration wants to spend 30% more on Vermont’s main energy efficiency program by 2008.
The administration recommends that spending should be raised to $23 million by 2008.
Environmental groups say that’s not nearly enough.
And business groups are recommending no increase.
Governor Jim Douglas says his proposal strikes the appropriate balance.
(Douglas) “I feel strongly about energy efficiency, signed a bill this week to require more energy efficient appliances to be used. I know all Vermonters share that commitment. The question really is, what’s the appropriate budget for our energy efficiency utility?’, and the analysis suggests a 30% increase would do the job.”
(Host) James Moore of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group advocates a three-fold increase in funding. He doesn’t believe the governor’s figure of a 30% increase is accurate.
(Moore) “The governor compares an investment made over three years to a one year budget. He’s not comparing apples to apples.”
(Host) Moore says that cutting back on power demand is a cost-effective way to avoid buying high-priced electricity.
(Moore) “With two-thirds of our power contracts going off line, energy efficiency is a way to reduce Vermonters’ electric bill and avoid being required to purchase expensive power from the volatile New England market.”
(Host) Vermont spends about $17 million-a-year on Efficiency Vermont, the statewide organization that promotes ways to reduce power use.
Last year, lawmakers removed a spending cap from the program. It’s up to the Public Service Board to figure out how much spending on efficiency would make sense economically.