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Vermont Electric Coop Board of Directors Recommends Moratorium on Renewable Power Supply Mandates

For Release: December 28, 2012

Vermont Electric Cooperative’s board of directors passed a resolution this afternoon recommending that the Vermont Legislature impose a moratorium for a period of up to two years on further renewable power supply mandates. Discussing concerns about impacts on costs and reliability, the VEC board expressed a need to address grid instability along with human health impacts as Vermont moves to adopt higher levels of renewable resources.

VEC further recommended that a statewide panel  be formed, representing all stakeholders – including utility customers- to be involved in developing a renewable energy transition plan addressing these issues.

Seven directors voted in favor of the resolution, with one opposing and one abstaining. Three directors were absent. Several VEC members (customers) from the Northeast Kingdom were present and spoke against further industrial wind development.

VEC Crews respond to outage caused by high winds

For Immediate Release: December 21, 2012, 4:30 PM

Johnson, VT- At 4:30 p.m. about 3,400 Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) members were without power. As predicted, today’s weather brought damaging winds to the VEC service territory causing power outages for approximately 9,000 VEC members. Line crews began restoration efforts early Friday morning and will continue to work throughout the night and into Saturday.

Down sloping winds caused trees to fall on power lines in areas west of both the Green Mountains and New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Most of VEC’s outages occurred in Chittenden, Lamoille, Franklin, Essex and Orleans Counties. 

The Cambridge area was particularly hard-hit when a substation failed due to a downed tree on a power line. From the Hinesburg and Huntington areas to the Northeast Kingdom, hundreds of VEC members experienced power outages at some point during the day.

No Rate Increase for Vermont Electric Co-op Members

November 27, 2012

Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) announced that the Co-op will not seek a rate increase in January 2013. Despite rising transmission costs, the Co-op has been able to hold rates steady for the second year in a row. VEC has not had a rate increase since January of 2011 and over the four year period from 2010 to 2013 VEC’s average rate increase will be about 1 percent per year.

VEC reviews electric rates annually to determine whether adjustments are needed to cover costs. “Like most other Vermont and New England utilities, VEC faces challenges with regard to transmission and power supply costs, along with inflationary pressures in other areas,” said Dave Hallquist, CEO. “We have been able to offset rising costs through operational efficiencies and by obtaining favorable power supply contracts.”

VEC has also acted to control rates by restructuring debt to control interest expenses. By obtaining grant funding from the Department of Energy for smart grid deployment, VEC has improved system operational efficiencies. Funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to rebuild power lines in the Northeast Kingdom and disaster relief support from the Federal Emergency Management Administration in the wake of Hurricane Irene also helped to offset rising costs that would have otherwise resulted in higher electric rates. Additionally, a joint ownership agreement of transmission assets from Lowell to Jay has reduced VEC’s costs by sharing them with Green Mountain Power.

Vermont Electric Co-op Line Workers head south to help other Utilities

October 31, 2012

Johnson, VT- Early Wednesday morning, fourteen Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) line workers traveling in bucket trucks and other utility vehicles headed south to provide mutual aid assistance to utilities hard hit by power outages caused by Superstorm Sandy. Crews initially reported to Green Mountain Power (GMP), but were redeployed to provide assistance to New Hampshire Electric Cooperative and will support utilities in other states as needed in the coming days, and possibly, weeks

Approximately 6,000 VEC members, or customers, experienced power outages which began at 4:00 p.m. on Monday as high winds toppled trees of all sizes onto electric lines. By evening on Tuesday, all of VEC’s storm related outages were restored, yet utilities throughout the eastern United States were just beginning to grapple with the devastation caused by Sandy which left more than 8 million without electricity.

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