Vermont to investigate smart metering


Jim Douglas,
Governor of
Montpelier, VT, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 28, 2008 – In a new clean energy bill the Vermont public service board has been directed to continue its investigations of opportunities for the state’s electric utilities to cost effectively install advanced “smart” metering equipment and to issue a final report and plan for implementation by the end of the year.

The Energy Efficiency and Affordability Act of 2008, which was launched by Vermont governor Jim Douglas last week, directs the PSB to conduct an analysis of the costs and benefits of installing advanced metering equipment and implementing time-of-use rates, taking cognizance of the experiences from other state jurisdictions.

After investigation, in utility territories where the board concludes it appropriate and cost effective, each Vermont utility will be required to file plans for investment and deployment of appropriate technologies and plans and strategies for implementing advanced pricing with a goal of ensuring that all ratepayer classes have an opportunity to receive and participate effectively in advanced time of use pricing plans.

The wide ranging bill is aimed at promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the state, and creates a new $4 million fuel efficiency fund that will provide energy efficiency services to the state’s consumers of heating and process fuels. The legislation also upgrades the state’s residential and commercial building energy standards in line with changes to the international energy conservation code.

Regarding renewable and distributed energy use, the bill expands net metering to include renewable energy systems up to 250 kW in capacity, up from 15 kW, and allows for combined heat and power systems up to 20 kW in capacity. In addition the cap on net metered systems is doubled to 2% of the peak demand as of 1996 or the latest calendar year, whichever is the greater, with the PSB able at its discretion to increase the cap further. The bill further allows groupings of electric meters to be consolidated on paper into one net metered system, such as on farms, in groups of buildings, and even among groups of individuals, whether within a single apartment building or geographically distributed, provided the group is located within the service area of the same electric company and promotes the “general good” – such group net metering potentially encouraging people to band together to install a large renewable energy system that would serve them all.

At the launch of the bill, Governor Douglas said that Vermonters were paying on average $500 more each year on energy since 2004 and that they were looking for innovative ways to save money and limit exposure to volatile fuel markets.

“Now we are prepared to help Vermonters better manage their heating resources, protect our environment and save money.”