Efficiency Vermont’s Inefficient Effect on Electric Rates

by Rob Roper

Art Woolf has an excellent column in the Burlington Free Press on Vermont’s high electric rates. One of the many good points he makes is about Efficiency Vermont and its impact on what we pay.

Advocates for Vermont’s energy policy – moving toward costly renewable sources – love to point out that Vermont has some of the lowest electricity rates in New England. This is, of course, like saying we are the among the shortest NBA teams. New England has the highest electric rates in the nation, and, when you include all 50 states Vermont is in the top ten. Where in the top ten? This goes to Woolf’s point, and the “Efficiency Vermont Deception.”

Efficiency Vermont, a non-profit quazi government agency that seeks to answer the question ‘how many bureaucrats does it take to change a light bulb,’ is funded through a 7% tax (they like to call it a surcharge; another deception) on our electric bills. It has an annual budget of around $50,000,000, so those pennies add up quick. Without counting that tax as part of Vermonters’ electric rate Vermont has the 8th highest cents per kilowatt rate in the country at 17.84 and the lowest in the region except for Maine. But when you do add the Efficiency Vermont tax to the cost – which we should because we pay it as part of the cost for electricity – we shoot up to 4th highest in the nation, and second highest in New England (thank God for Connecticut) at 19.24¢ per kilowatt hour.

Just FYI, the lowest prices are in Louisiana at 9.16¢ per kilowatt hour, less than half the cost of Vermont.

Woolf points out that other states have similar programs for helping customers reduce their electric usage, but they are funded by the utilities and not via a tax subsidized quasi-government entity. Efficiency Vermont isn’t. The program should be defunded and the money returned to the ratepayers.

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Roger Joslin April 20, 2017 at 9:27 pm

I am in complete agreement. This state subsidizes so many programs that hurt us rather than help us. The state and its fun loving groups like VPIRG and Energy VT suck us dry. They do not serve us. The public would serve us much better at a much lower cost. It is time to drain the swamp in VT.


Ralph Colin April 21, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Perhaps I should consider those (like you) who are being hit with a 7% surcharge by Energy VT as being fortunate. On my most recent bill, the E.T. tax was 9.4%!!!

There are many outrageous taxes in Vermont, but this one certainly has to be at the very top of the list of those (among them, the Property Tax) which are intolerable. Many thanks to the majority party leaders in the General Assembly who, under the pretense of doing “good”, are actually making living in this state unsustainable for just about everyone. Isn’t it about time for some kind of a revolution?


Jim Bulmer April 22, 2017 at 12:36 am

Dumb question – why oh why do we keep putting up with these people?????


William Hays April 22, 2017 at 1:32 am

Louisiana the lowest? My Montana Residential Electric cost $0.0685 / kWh.


Oggy April 22, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Moved to SC and pay 11 cents per on time of use plan. Much cheaper to cool than heat…And few Liberals to wreck the fun and sunny 90% of the time. Get out of VT while you can!!


Meredith Angwin April 22, 2017 at 5:53 pm

I looked at Efficiency Vermont charges in this blog post, which compared them with New York State’s Clean Energy Standard credits. Vermont’s efficiency charges are way too high for what we get.


Don Neuharth May 19, 2017 at 2:17 am

Please allow me to point out a misstatement in the piece: “… other states have similar programs for helping customers reduce their electric usage, but they are funded by the utilities…”. No, those costs are actually borne by the customers (ratepayers) since the utilities must build that cost into their rates just as they do every other cost from administration to the power itself. I would presume the misstatement is merely an oversight but it just goes to show how many of us fail to always fully “follow the money”.


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