State to retrofit offices for energy efficiency

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas wants state government – and its taxpayers – to spend less money to heat and light state buildings. So on Wednesday Douglas announced a new partnership that will reduce energy costs for state offices.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) The governor recognized the work of Efficiency Vermont, a Burlington company that runs energy conservation programs around the state. Douglas says the state will work with Efficiency Vermont to reduce energy costs for state buildings. The first two projects will be his Statehouse office and his main office nearby.

(Douglas) “I believe that state government should show leadership on the issue of energy efficiency and this leadership will begin in my office.”

(Dillon) Efficiency Vermont was created in 1999 after the Public Service Board called for one statewide utility to run energy efficiency programs. Unlike a conventional utility, Efficiency Vermont doesn’t sell kilowatts. Instead, it provides services that allow customers to use less electricity.

Public Service Board Chairman Michael Dworkin says Efficiency Vermont helps reduce the electricity bills of all Vermonters.

(Dworkin) “Every kilowatt hour that Vermonters buy from Efficiency Vermont for less than three cents, means that a Vermont utility does not have to pay five to 15 cents to bring power to Vermonters from gas and oil fired power plants from southern New England. So for each of the millions of dollars that we invest in efficiency it means not just a cleaner world, but it also saves several million dollars that our utilities don’t have to pay down country.”

(Dillon) Efficiency Vermont is funded by a surcharge on electricity bills. Earlier this year, Governor Douglas opposed an increase in the company’s budget because he says that would raise rates for business. However, Douglas says he remains committed to efficiency programs.

(Douglas) “I made it very clear throughout the course of that discussion that I support the fine work that Efficiency Vermont is doing. It’s just a question of how hard we hit the ratepayers in order to support it.”

(Dillon) Efficiency Vermont was recently nominated for a prestigious award from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. The Burlington company was selected as one of 15 finalists out of 1,200 nominees.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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