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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

Printable Version
Efficiency Vermont   

Last DSIRE Review: 12/05/2012
Program Overview:
State: Vermont
Incentive Type: Public Benefits Fund
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Unspecified Technologies
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Agricultural, Institutional
Types:Energy efficiency
Charge:Varies by year, utility and customer type
Web Site:
Authority 1:
30 V.S.A. ยง 209
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
PSB Order Docket Number 5980
Authority 3:
Date Effective:
CVR 30-000-051
Authority 4:
Date Enacted:
PSB Order Establishing SMEEP
Authority 5:
Date Enacted:
PSB Order Establishing ESA

In June 1999, Vermont enacted legislation authorizing the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) to establish a volumetric charge on all electric customers' bills to support energy-efficiency programs. As a result, in 2000 the PSB established Efficiency Vermont and a funding mechanism to support it. The funding mechanism, which varies by utility, is based on factors unique to each utility's service territory and is reviewed periodically and adjusted as necessary by the PSB.* It should be noted that Burlington Electric Department is not required to fund Efficiency Vermont; it collects its funds and implements its programs directly under a separate agreement with the PSB. Many of Burlington Electric Department programs are identical to Efficiency Vermont programs.

The cap on the annual budget was set at $17.5 million until 2005, when legislation removed the cap. The PSB set the annual budget for Efficiency Vermont at $19.5 million for 2006, $24 million for 2007, and $30.75 million for 2008 (actual expenditures may vary from budget). The three year Efficiency Vermont plan covering 2009 to 2011 (approved by the PSB) sets the budget at $28.9 million for 2009, $33 million for 2010 (est.) and $37.6 million for 2011 (est.). The 2012 plan outlines the budget for the next three years (approved by the PSB). The 2012 budget is $41.2 million (est.), $44.2 million (est.) for 2013, and $47.8 million (est.) for 2014. These estimates include funds collected from the volumetric charge as well as other funds, such as the Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the ISO New England Forward Capacity Market, which fund heating and process fuels services. There is no expiration date for Efficiency Vermont.

By statute, the funds collected for Efficiency Vermont may not be used to meet the general obligations of the state. Efficiency Vermont provides technical assistance and financial incentives for energy-efficient building design, construction, renovation, equipment, lighting and appliances. Its primary priorities are reducing the size of future power purchases, reducing the generation of greenhouse gases, limiting the need to upgrade the state's transmission and distribution infrastructure, and minimizing the costs of electricity.

Efficiency Vermont is administered by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), an independent nonprofit organization. Efficiency Vermont's programs undergo review and verification through an independent financial audit, a savings-verification process conducted by the Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS), and an independent audit mandated by the Vermont Legislature. In December 2010, the Efficiency Vermont contract structure to both Vermont Energy Investment Corporation and Burlington Electric was replaced with a franchise-like "Order of Appointment" structure with a duration of 12 years. For more information, see the PSB's web site

Efficiency Vermont annual reports and plans include additional details on the fund, the types of projects it has funded, and its plans for the future.

The Vermont Energy Act of 2009 (H. 446) amended Efficiency Vermont and directed the DPS (with subsequent PSB approval and enactment) to develop a self-managed energy efficiency program for eligible transmission and industrial electric ratepayers. The program began January 1, 2010. Eligible program participants include customers within the transmission and industrial rate class whose charges to the statewide energy efficiency fund were $1.5 million or more in 2008. In addition, these customers must have a comprehensive energy management program (ISO-14001 certification satisfies the requirement, other programs are also eligible). Finally, they must commit at least $1 million/year (on average) to each three-year period in which it participates in the self-managed energy efficiency program. The only company eligible for the "SMEEP" program is IBM. SMEEP program participants are not required to pay into the Efficiency Vermont as long as they comply with SMEEP requirements. See the Vermont Public Service Board more information on SMEEP.

In addition to the SMEEP program, another self-management program called the Energy Savings Accounts are available to commercial customers that are required to contributed at least $5,000 per year to the fund (via the energy efficiency charge).

* The PSB is authorized to allow customers that implement an "extraordinary amount of cost-effective energy efficiency" at their own expense or that incurred "extraordinary costs on those measures" to apply for an exemption from some or all of the charge assessed.

  Ingrid Malmgren
Efficiency Vermont
255 S. Champlain Street, Suite 7
Burlington, VT 05401
Phone: (802) 658-6060
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.