ENERGY BILL ASSISTANCE GRANTS AVAILABLE TO HELP LOW-INCOME VERMONTERS: Efficiency Vermont and Burlington Electric launch 3rd round of funding to non-profits to help ease energy burden of Vermonters around the state

  • Thursday, March 2, 2017

    Burlington, VT – For a third year, Efficiency Vermont and Burlington Electric Department are launching a grant program for non-profit organizations to help low-income Vermonters reduce their energy bills. The grant program was first launched in January 2014 and has proven successful over the past two years – delivering measurable energy savings and receiving positive feedback from program participants.

    In 2016, more than 170 megawatt hours of energy were saved under the grant program – or enough energy to power 22 Vermont homes for one year. In addition, the participating organizations conducted 750 home energy visits, which involved replacing inefficient light bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs, installing energy-saving, low-flow water devices and advanced power strips, and identifying other opportunities to reduce energy use, such as replacing inefficient refrigerators and implementing weatherization projects.   

    “These energy visits mean so much to the elders we serve,” said Karen Budde, Volunteer Coordinator for the Northeast Kingdom Council on Aging. “They often live alone in big farm houses. So knowing that they can keep their lights on at a low cost and move through their home safely so they do not fall is very important.”

    “Our goals with continuing this grant program are to reach more low-income Vermonters and to help reduce their energy burden,” said Liz Gamache, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “By partnering with Vermont non-profits, we’re able to expand our impact and ensure that homes in their communities are more affordable, comfortable, and safe.”

    “Burlington Electric has long been in the business of making a difference for Burlington’s energy future, and that difference includes helping all members of our community improve their energy efficiency to save money and protect our environment for future generations,” said Neale Lunderville, General Manager of Burlington Electric Department. “We’re glad to partner once again with Efficiency Vermont to provide these grants to serve those in our community who need an extra boost to meet their electric needs.”

    Efficiency Vermont and Burlington Electric Department expect to award up to 10 non-profit organizations with grants ranging from $10,000 to $30,000. Interested organizations are invited to submit proposals specifying ways they would use the funding to help their constituents save energy. Proposals are due by March 17, 2017, for more information, please visit www.veic.org/company/requests-for-proposals or contact Paul Markowitz at pmarkowitz@veic.org.

    Efficiency Vermont was created by the Vermont Legislature to help all Vermonters reduce energy costs, strengthen the economy, and protect Vermont's environment. For more information, contact Efficiency Vermont at 888-921-5990 or visit www.efficiencyvermont.com.

    Burlington Electric Department has been serving its customers with safe and reliable power since 1905. Burlington Electric is a recognized national leader in green energy with the recent milestone achievement of sourcing 100 percent of its power from renewable generation. With a focus on low and stable rates and a commitment to energy efficiency, Burlington Electric’s 20,000 customers use less power today than they did in 1989. For more information about Burlington Electric, visit www.burlingtonelectric.com.

    Contacts

    Alayna Howard, Efficiency Vermont, 802.540.7656

    Mike Kanarick, Burlington Electric Department, 802.735.7962


    ###


    Mike Kanarick
    Director of Customer Care, Community Engagement, and Communications
    Burlington Electric Department
    585 Pine Street | Burlington, Vermont 05401
    mkanarick@burlingtonelectric.com | 802.735.7962 (cell)
  • energyChamp encourages Burlington homeowners and renters to take power over their energy use
    Tuesday, January 31, 2017

    Burlington, Vt. – The Burlington Electric Department and Vermont Gas Systems today launched a new residential energy efficiency program that challenges and encourages homeowners and renters in Vermont’s largest city to take power over their energy use. The new residential program is the next step in the unique Vermont Gas-Burlington Electric energyChamp partnership, first announced in June 2015 to offer incentives to owners of multi-unit residential rentals who committed to improving the energy efficiency of their buildings. A key feature of this new residential program is an easy-to-use website – www.energyChamp.org – that helps Burlingtonians visualize and understand their energy use, save money by improving their efficiency through reduced energy consumption, and help advance our efforts to be a sustainable city.

    The original Energy Champ Challenge resulted in 163 energy audits, far exceeding the initial goal of 50, and completed efficiency upgrades on 63 buildings resulting in a total savings of more than $647,000 for Burlington landlords and tenants. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Burlington Electric to take our Energy Champ Challenge program to the next level,” said Don Rendall, President and CEO of Vermont Gas. “We’ve had great success with our first stage, bringing efficiency savings to Burlington’s rental market, a traditionally tough one to crack. We are excited to enter this new energyChamp phase by offering Burlington families incentives to save money, use less energy, and reduce carbon emissions – a winning combination for the entire community.”

    The new program offers an innovative way for Burlington Electric and Vermont Gas customers to benefit from multiple energy savings opportunities. Through one simple interaction with the new website, customers will learn, based on their energy usage, if they rank as an “energy rookie,” “energy contender,” or “energyChamp,” with each designation represented by a different, playful depiction of Burlington’s favorite lake monster, Champ.

    Customers will see how their energy use compares to all other Burlington residents living in similiar housing types, including single-family, condominiums, or apartments. Residents who use the least amount of energy in a given month will earn the designation “energyChamp.” The new website will offer a wide-range of possible steps, services, and savings opportunities based upon each designation.

    The first 500 participants who take the new challenge will be entered into a drawing to win a home energy-makeover, which will include up to $15,000 in cost-effective weatherization and electric efficiency measures for a residential Burlington property-owner. Participants must have a home energy audit by Vermont Gas and/or Burlington Electric staff and have at least $5,000 in needed weatherization and electric efficiency upgrades. Funds will be provided to an authorized contractor, who will complete the work on the property.  Funds will be used for energy efficiency measures, such as insulation of attics and walls, sealing of air leaks, and LED lighting.

    “Our new energyChamp program and website demonstrate our continuing commitment to lead through energy innovation as we help our customers take power over their energy,” said Neale Lunderville, General Manager of Burlington Electric. “This exciting partnership with Vermont Gas changes the way we do energy efficiency. Not only does it bridge thermal and electric efficiencies, but also will help advance our efforts to become a net zero energy city.”

    During the energyChamp launch, which took place in front of City Hall on Church Street, Mayor Miro Weinberger stated: “Burlington Electric continues to lead our community forward toward a more sustainable future. The energyChamp program creates a new opportunity for Burlingtonians to save money and help the environment using innovative technology and an expanded partnership with Vermont Gas.”

    Jennifer Green, City of Burlington Sustainability Coordinator, added: “We’re better together! With nearly all Burlington residences having both natural gas and electric accounts, this collaboration makes good sense, providing Burlingtonians more tools to cut down on both their electric and thermal energy use. As a Burlington resident, I’m excited that my neighbors and I will be able to easily access Burlington Electric and Vermont Gas programs through this simple, one-stop-shopping program.”

    Even CHAMP, the Vermont Lake Monsters furry, friendly mascot and huge energy efficiency advocate, was on hand for the announcement, and if CHAMP could speak, he no doubt would have shared the story about how Burlington Electric worked with the Lake Monsters to dramatically improve the efficiency of its stadium lighting system.

    The Home Energy Makeover Trailer – http://www.vtgreen.org/training-trailer/ – was on hand for the announcement and will remain on Church Street through Wednesday, February 1, 2017 and be staffed by Burlington Electric and Vermont Gas team members to help Burlingtonians learn more about energyChamp and how to make their homes more energy efficient.

    To benefit from this new program, homeowners and renters (with homes, condominiums, and apartment buildings) should visit www.energyChamp.org, answer a few quick questions, and be on their way to becoming energyChamps.

    # # #

    About Vermont Gas Systems

    Vermont Gas Systems is a leader in energy efficiency and innovation, offering a clean, safe, affordable choice for almost 50,000 homes, businesses, and institutions in Franklin and Chittenden counties. The company plays an important role in Vermont’s clean energy future by displacing higher-emitting fuels and with its award-winning energy efficiency programs. For more information about Vermont Gas, visit www.VermontGas.com.

    Contact: Beth Parent, 802.578.2776, bparent@vermontgas.com                                                                                   

    About Burlington Electric Department

    Burlington Electric Department has been serving its customers with safe and reliable power since 1905. Burlington Electric is a recognized national leader in green energy with the recent milestone achievement of sourcing 100 percent of its power from renewable generation. With a focus on low and stable rates and a commitment to energy efficiency, Burlington Electric’s 20,000 customers use less power today than they did in 1989. For more information about Burlington Electric, visit www.burlingtonelectric.com

    Contact: Mike Kanarick, 802.735.7962, mkanarick@burlingtonelectric.com


    Mike Kanarick
    Director of Customer Care, Community Engagement, and Communications
    Burlington Electric Department
    585 Pine Street | Burlington, Vermont 05401
    mkanarick@burlingtonelectric.com | 802.735.7962 (cell)
  • Invite startups to complete survey to gauge interest in 12-week program, concluding with capital investment
    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

    Burlington, VT: The Burlington Electric Department and the Vermont Technology Council today announced the formation of an exploratory team to assess the potential for a Vermont energy startup accelerator – PowerUp Vermont – to help businesses focused on innovating in the power industry and driving the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The 12-week program would be designed to provide growing energy businesses with a competitive advantage through a mentorship program and seminars that would address a variety of topics, including venture capital, fundraising, sales training, marketing, branding, business development, client acquisition, and power industry-specific advice. Energy entrepreneurs are invited to complete a survey found by visiting www.PowerUpVT.com that will gauge interest in and expectations from this type of program.

    The idea to create PowerUp Vermont emerged from innovators and investors familiar with Vermont’s startup scene, including Cairn Cross, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Fresh Tracks Capital, who stated: “The Vermont entrepreneurial ecosystem has grown dramatically in the past couple decades and, as a result, we need a more abundant and diverse offering of support networks for growing companies. An accelerator program like PowerUp Vermont would provide companies with industry-specific connections, insights, and business skills to position them for success.”

    “At Burlington Electric, we are committed to leading through energy innovation, as we did when Burlington became the first city in the nation to source 100 percent of its power through renewable generation,” said Neale Lunderville, General Manager of Burlington Electric Department. “PowerUp Vermont would provide Burlington Electric with a great opportunity to engage with and support local energy companies trying to move the City of Burlington, the State of Vermont, and our country away from fossil fuels and would line up very well with our 10-year strategic vision to transition Burlington to a net zero energy city. As the ecosystem of entrepreneurs in the power industry continues to grow, both large and small companies stand to benefit.”

    Paul Hines, Co-Founder of Packetized Energy, a growing Vermont-based business in the power industry, expressed enthusiasm for a program like PowerUp Vermont, stating: "An accelerator program focused on energy would further Vermont's position as a hub for energy innovation and could really help to advance Packetized Energy's business.”

    “We’re excited to help entrepreneurs overcome growth challenges and create more job opportunities for Vermonters,” said John Evans, President of the Vermont Technology Council.

    Not only would more successful businesses in the power industry create jobs and help slow down climate change, but also they would help existing businesses in the power industry. According to James Moore, Co-President of SunCommon, “Startups in the power industry have the potential to help us deepen our client relationships and meet the increasingly complex needs of customers.”

    The success of this type of venture hinges on engagement from the entrepreneurial community, and the survey at www.PowerUpVT.com will provide insight into the real potential for this program.

    Please contact Bonnie Reese at PowerUpVT@gmail.com with questions.

    ###


    Mike Kanarick
    Director of Customer Care, Community Engagement, and Communications
    Burlington Electric Department
    585 Pine Street | Burlington, Vermont 05401
    mkanarick@burlingtonelectric.com | 802.735.7962 (cell)
  • Saturday, December 31, 2016

    To our valued customers and residents of the City of Burlington,

    On Thursday night, December 29, 2016, the Burlington Electric Department was alerted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of a malware code used in Grizzly Steppe, the name DHS has applied to recent malicious cyber activity. We acted quickly to scan all computers in our system for the malware signature. We detected suspicious Internet traffic in a single Burlington Electric Department computer not connected to our organization’s grid systems. We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding.

    There is no indication that either our electric grid or customer information has been compromised. Media reports stating that Burlington Electric was hacked or that the electric grid was breached are false.

    Cybersecurity is an issue that Burlington Electric and all U.S. utilities take very seriously. We focus every day to protect the integrity of the electric grid and the personal information of our valued customers.

    Federal officials have indicated that this specific type of Internet traffic also has been observed elsewhere in the country and is not unique to Burlington Electric. It’s unfortunate that an official or officials improperly shared inaccurate information with one media outlet, leading to multiple inaccurate reports around the country.

    At Burlington Electric, we take great pride in conveying timely and accurate information and will continue to keep you updated about issues that impact you through our website, social media, and as many other communications channels as possible.

    The entire Burlington Electric family would like to thank all of you -- our customers -- for your continued confidence and trust in our work.

    If you have any questions, please contact Burlington Electric directly.

    Happy New Year!

    Neale F. Lunderville
    General Manager

    # # #
     

    Saturday, December 31, 2016

    Burlington Electric Department Statement: No Indication that Electric Grid or Customer Information Compromised

    Cybersecurity is an issue that the Burlington Electric Department and all U.S. utilities take very seriously and on which we focus every day to protect the integrity of the electric grid and the personal information of our valued customers.

    Federal officials have indicated that the specific type of Internet traffic, related to recent malicious cyber activity that was reported by us yesterday, also has been observed elsewhere in the country and is not unique to Burlington Electric. It’s unfortunate that an official or officials improperly shared inaccurate information with one media outlet, leading to multiple inaccurate reports around the country.

    At Burlington Electric, where we take great pride in conveying timely and accurate information, we want our community to know that there is no indication that either our electric grid or customer information has been compromised. Media reports stating that Burlington Electric was hacked or that the electric grid was breached are false.

    We want to thank our customers for their continued confidence and trust in Burlington Electric.

    # # #

     

    Friday, December 30, 2016

    Burlington Electric Department Statement: Response to Reports of Russian Hacking of Vermont Electric Grid

    Last night, U.S. utilities were alerted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of a malware code used in Grizzly Steppe, the name DHS has applied to a Russian campaign linked to recent hacks. We acted quickly to scan all computers in our system for the malware signature. We detected the malware in a single Burlington Electric Department laptop not connected to our organization’s grid systems. We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding. Our team is working with federal officials to trace this malware and prevent any other attempts to infiltrate utility systems. We have briefed state officials and will support the investigation fully.
     

    # # #


    Mike Kanarick
    Director of Customer Care, Community Engagement, and Communications
    Burlington Electric Department
    585 Pine Street | Burlington, Vermont 05401
    mkanarick@burlingtonelectric.com | 802.735.7962 (cell)
  • Tuesday, December 27, 2016

    Burlington, VT – The Burlington Electric Department and Green Mountain Power today are warning customers about an ongoing bill payment phone scam. In a new wave of calls today, Burlington Electric and Green Mountain Power customers have been receiving calls threatening disconnection if payment is not made immediately. These calls have been targeting primarily restaurants, but other customers have received similar calls.

    These calls are not from Burlington Electric or Green Mountain Power, and customers should hang up if they receive a call with such demands. If customers have any questions about their account status, they should call the authorized phone number for GMP, 888.TEL.GMPC (888.835.4672), or for BED, 802.865.7300.

    The utilities follow very clear state rules when working with customers about paying past due bills and do not demand credit card information or alternate payment mechanisms from a customer for any purpose and, if customers receive a call with such a demand, they should follow these steps:

    • Do not provide payment or any other personal information
    • Do not engage with the caller
    • Immediately hang up
    • Do not call back the number; and

    Call BED Customer Service at 802.865.7300 or GMP Customer Service at 888.835.4672 to report the occurrence and to share any information you are able to provide, including name of the caller, caller’s phone number, and substance of the call.

    Further, customers receiving such calls are encouraged to report this scam by contacting the Vermont Attorney General’s Office Consumer Assistance Program at 800.649.2424 (in-state only) or 802.656.3183 (from out of state numbers) or by visiting www.uvm.edu/consumer. Also, to further protect yourself against similar scams, please visit that same website address to read about similar past scams.


    Mike Kanarick
    Director of Customer Care, Community Engagement, and Communications
    Burlington Electric Department
    585 Pine Street | Burlington, Vermont 05401
    mkanarick@burlingtonelectric.com | 802.735.7962 (cell)
  • Recognizes Forward-Looking Financial Policies, Renewable Power Supply, Competitive Rates, Strong Management, Solid City Financial Position
    Tuesday, December 20, 2016

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:  Brian Lowe, Mayor's Office
                      802.735.3983

    Burlington, VT – Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the Burlington Electric Department’s credit rating to A3 with a stable outlook from Baa1 with a stable outlook, representing the first time in more than six years that Burlington Electric has earned an “A” rating. Moody’s cited Burlington Electric’s forward-looking financial policies, diverse and renewable power supply, competitive rates, and strong and focused management as important factors for the increase. Further, Moody’s listed continued financial success by the City of Burlington as a factor that could contribute to future Burlington Electric upgrades, an apparent reference to its having awarded the City a two-step increase in March 2016 that restored the City’s credit rating to an “A” for the first time since 2012. 

    The Moody’s report lists the following credit strengths:

    ·         “Diverse and substantially renewable power supply resource mix, which mitigates industry challenges such as market price disruptions and carbon regulation;”

    ·         “Strong improvement in liquidity and debt service coverage over the past two fiscal years and forward-looking financial policies aimed at maintaining sound financial metrics;”

    ·         “BED’s service area economy is relatively robust, with above national average socioeconomics, driven largely by higher education, technology and health care;” and

    ·         “Strong and focused management working on industry transition, including ensuring utility fixed cost recovery through rate structure changes.”

    “This credit rating upgrade validates Burlington Electric’s continuing efforts to lead through energy innovation by sourcing its power from renewable generation and by focusing on measureable financial results that consider the changing utility landscape,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “The upgrade, like the one just over a year ago, will further lower Burlington Electric’s future borrowing costs and, once again, demonstrates that the commitment of the community, the City Council, and the Administration to strengthen Burlington’s financial reputation is working and continues to generate real savings for Burlington residents, institutions, and businesses. Congratulations to the entire Burlington Electric team for their excellent work.”

    “Strong financial management is part of Burlington Electric’s continued commitment to the customers we serve,” said Neale Lunderville, Burlington Electric Department General Manager. “As the Moody’s upgrade confirms, our continuous focus on improving our financial foundation and on adapting to a changing energy market allow our team to lead the green energy revolution.”

    “It takes a great team – from our customers to Burlington Electric frontline staff to City Hall – to achieve a Moody’s upgrade,” Lunderville added. “I want to offer special praise to our Burlington Electric power supply and finance teams, as well as to our Burlington Electric Commission, for their unwavering focus on improving our finances, and to the entire Burlington Electric family for delivering exceptional service to our customers.”

    The recent history of Burlington Electric’s credit ratings and outlooks follows:

    Date

    Action

    Rating

    Outlook

    12/19/16

    Upgrade from Baa1

    A3

    Stable

    11/9/15

    Upgrade from Baa2

    Baa1

    Stable

    7/22/14

    Affirm

    Baa2

    Positive

    12/20/13

    Affirm

    Baa2

    Stable

    10/22/12

    Affirm

    Baa2

    Negative

    10/06/11

    Affirm

    Baa2

    Negative

    10/13/10

    Downgrade from A3

    Baa2

    Stable

    3/17/04

    Affirmed

    A3

    Stable

    *Moody’s Investors Service Burlington Electric Credit Opinion attached.

    # # #


    Mike Kanarick
    Director of Customer Care, Community Engagement, and Communications
    Burlington Electric Department
    585 Pine Street | Burlington, Vermont 05401
    mkanarick@burlingtonelectric.com | 802.735.7962 (cell)
  • Thursday, December 15, 2016

    Burlington, Vt. – The Burlington Electric Department continues to focus on sourcing 100 percent of its power from renewable generation with the addition of a new source to its power portfolio. Yesterday, the 17-turbine Hancock Wind Project went online for commercial operation and will supply Burlington with 13.5 megawatts of electricity, or nine percent of Burlington’s energy needs. The Hancock Wind farm has a total capacity of 51 megawatts and is located in rural Hancock County, Maine.

    “An important part of our Burlington Electric story is our continuous drive to maintain our ability to source 100 percent of our power from renewable generation,” said Neale Lunderville, General Manager. “Ever since the day we achieved our 100 percent renewability goal, we’ve been working hard and smart to identify additional renewable resources and to keep our power costs low for our customers. Recognizing that Burlington Electric’s resource portfolio is dynamic, that contracts expire, and that resource outputs are variable, we have a continuing commitment to get our power from renewable resources, and must never view 100 percent as a moment in time.”

    Burlington Electric has entered into a 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Hancock Wind to acquire 26.5 percent of the Hancock Wind farm’s production (approximately 32,000 megawatt hours of power annually). The only other recipient of wind power from Hancock Wind is Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company, which has entered into a PPA to purchase 37.5 megawatts of electricity. Turbine installation for the project began in May 2016. 

    Burlington Electric’s next major resource change will be the expiration of its five-year, 42,000-megawatt hours NextEra hydro-electric contract.

    “We have not raised our electric rates since 2009 and will continue to be proactive about bringing new resources online as others phase out,” added GM Lunderville. “Hancock Wind also serves as a hedge against the potential impact of future natural gas prices.”

    ____

    About Burlington Electric Department

    Burlington Electric Department has been serving its customers with safe and reliable power since 1905. Burlington Electric is a recognized national leader in green energy with the recent milestone achievement of sourcing 100 percent of its power from renewable generation. With a focus on low and stable rates and a commitment to energy efficiency, Burlington Electric’s 20,000 customers use less power today than they did in 1989.

    # # #


    Mike Kanarick
    Director of Customer Care, Community Engagement, and Communications
    Burlington Electric Department
    585 Pine Street | Burlington, Vermont 05401
    mkanarick@burlingtonelectric.com | 802.735.7962 (cell)
  • Location Selected with Community Input; Installation Demonstrates BED’s Commitment to Increase Number of EVs on the Road, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    Thursday, November 17, 2016
    Google Earth photograph depicting four Hannaford parking spaces that will become available for EV charging.
    Google Earth photograph depicting four Hannaford parking spaces that will become available for EV charging.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Burlington, Vt. – The Burlington Electric Department today announced that it will install two 240-volt, dual port electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the Hannaford supermarket parking lot in the New North End’s Ethan Allen Shopping Center, allowing for the simultaneous charging of four EVs and raising to 24 the number of EV charging ports Burlington Electric has installed around the City. The location was selected based upon the results of a community survey launched by Burlington Electric during Drive Electric Week in September. Installation of the new stations demonstrates Burlington Electric’s continued commitment to increase the number of EVs on the road and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    “These charging stations will provide electric vehicle owners with a convenient, new option for charging their cars while they shop or visit the area,” said Andrew Goldberg, Hannaford Energy Project Manager. “Hannaford is proud to partner with Burlington Electric in this project, as part of our commitment to sustainability and to working with others in strengthening the communities we serve.”

    The community survey led Burlington Electric to site the two new charging stations at Hannaford in the New North End’s Ethan Allen Shopping Center. Forty-five percent of survey respondents voted for locating the charging stations in the Ethan Allen Shopping Center. The next top vote-getter was the Pease Parking Lot (Waterfront) with 15 percent. The survey offered the following other locations as well: Church and Main; Marketplace Garage; College Street Garage; and other. Burlington Electric will manage and fund the charging stations. Installation of the stations will begin next week, and they will be activated in early to mid-December. The new Level 2 stations will charge vehicles in an average of under four hours.

    “BED is working hard on many fronts to build on its remarkable milestone of sourcing 100 percent of Burlington’s power from renewable generation, and to move us closer to becoming a net zero energy city,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Driving electric is an important part of this environmental strategy, and the two new EV charging stations represent an important expansion of our ability to serve this growing market.”

    “Today’s announcement serves as another example of Burlington Electric’s ongoing commitment to lead through energy innovation to make Burlington stronger,” stated Neale Lunderville, Burlington Electric General Manager. “With a majority of Burlington’s carbon emissions coming from the transportation sector, the deployment of EV charging infrastructure, along with increased biking and walking, and the use of public transit, is an important step toward achieving BED’s vision to build a sustainable energy future that reduces these emissions and supports a growing economy and a thriving community.” 

    Prior to its work with Hannaford, Burlington Electric already had installed 11 EV charging stations around the City as part of its commitment to contribute to Vermont’s EV charging stations network. Four of those charging stations are positioned in strategic locations around the University of Vermont campus, and one station has been installed at the Miller Information Commons parking lot at Champlain College. The other six charging stations are located on Main Street near City Hall, in both the Marketplace and Cherry Street parking garages, and at Burlington Electric’s Pine Street facility. Together, the four UVM, the one Champlain College, and the six charging stations around the City are averaging between 450 to 500 charging sessions per month and have had visits from nearly 550 unique drivers in 2016. The vehicles belonging to those drivers are registered in 61 different Vermont communities, 13 states (CA, CT, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, and VA), Washington, DC, and 19 Canadian communities.

    In its Comprehensive Energy Plan, Vermont has pledged that 10 percent of all on-road vehicles will be fueled by renewable sources by 2025. Forty-seven percent of Vermont’s greenhouse gases comes from its transportation sector, according to the plan. Vermont is one of eight states to have signed a zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) memorandum of understanding (MOU) to coordinate actions to ensure that more ZEVs are on the road. Since signing the MOU in October 2013 and taking action to reach its goals, Vermont has seen a significant increase in the number of EVs in the state, from 88 in June 2014 to 988 in June 2015 to nearly 1,400 in October 2016, according to Drive Electric Vermont.

    Installation of these EV charging stations will not be the first time Burlington Electric has worked with Hannaford in the New North End. This past summer, Burlington Electric, the Burlington community’s energy efficiency utility, engaged in an energy efficiency project that included replacement of all lighting fixtures with LED technology and installation of an automated lighting control system that includes scheduling, occupancy sensing, and day-light harvesting capabilities. Based on these efficiency upgrades, the Hannaford store is estimated to save enough electricity each year equivalent to the electricity needs of 70 average Burlington homes.

    ____


    About Burlington Electric Department

    Burlington Electric Department has been serving its customers with safe and reliable power since 1905. Burlington Electric is a recognized national leader in green energy with the recent milestone achievement of sourcing 100% of its power from renewable generation. With a focus on low and stable rates, and a commitment to energy efficiency, Burlington Electric’s 20,000 customers use less power today than they did in 1989.

    # # #


    Mike Kanarick
    Director of Customer Care, Community Engagement, and Communications
    Burlington Electric Department
    585 Pine Street | Burlington, Vermont 05401
    mkanarick@burlingtonelectric.com | 802.735.7962 (cell)
  • Monday, October 24, 2016
    GM Neale Lunderville presenting $20,000 WARMTH contribution to CVOEO Executive Director Jan Demers with Burlington Electric Customer Care Representatives Katie Dorey (left) and Jessica Walker (right). Photo credit: Destenie Vital, BED Community Program Coordinator.
    GM Neale Lunderville presenting $20,000 WARMTH contribution to CVOEO Executive Director Jan Demers with Burlington Electric Customer Care Representatives Katie Dorey (left) and Jessica Walker (right). Photo credit: Destenie Vital, BED Community Program Coordinator.

    Burlington, VT – The Burlington Electric Department today is encouraging the Burlington community to contribute to the WARMTH Support Program of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO), leading by example with its own $20,000 gift that will help Burlingtonians and Vermonters with heating emergencies this winter.  During last year’s 2015-16 heating season, WARMTH served 394 Burlington households with 648 assists, or direct payments to BED to keep the heat on, totaling more than $53,000.

    “For 111 years, Burlington Electric has been in the business of making a difference for Burlington’s energy future and that difference includes sharing the warmth with members of our community who face emergencies,” said Neale Lunderville, General Manager.  “We appreciate CVOEO’s leadership in creating and growing the WARMTH Program over the last three decades and encourage our customers who are able to lend a hand toward this impactful effort. We are glad to continue our support for such a worthy program.” 

    Burlington Electric will include a WARMTH program brochure in its November customer bills.  WARMTH funds are available for emergency situations, when a household faces disconnection of utility services or has exhausted its fuel supply and has been unable to secure sufficient assistance through other support channels.  Every dollar contributed by Burlingtonians and other Vermonters to WARMTH goes directly to the utility or fuel supplier of the individual or family in need. WARMTH has contributed more than $5.02 million to more than 90,000 Vermonters since the program’s inception in 1986.  In addition to paying utility bills for those in need, WARMTH provides counseling and essential information to households in an effort to help avoid heating crises and has assisted more than 54,000 households over the past three decades.  Burlington Electric’s $20,000 gift is an administrative support grant that CVOEO will use to compensate the WARMTH Program workers who provide direct service to Burlingtonians and Vermonters.  Burlington Electric has provided similar support since 1986.    

    “Burlington Electric’s funding meets a need in a unique way that makes the WARMTH Program succeed,” said Jan Demers, CVOEO Executive Director.  “We are so fortunate to have this incredible utility’s support. We are especially grateful that Burlington Electric matched last year’s significant increase in financial support of WARMTH.”

    “The Board of Electric Commissioners is proud to endorse Burlington Electric’s support of the WARMTH program,” said Gabrielle Stebbins, Chair of the Board of Electric Commissioners.  “We are fortunate to live in a City that walks the walk when it comes to helping our neighbors in need – after all, this kind of community support is what has led Burlington to become one of the most desirable Cities in which to live, work, and raise a family.”  


    Mike Kanarick
    Director of Customer Care, Community Engagement, and Communications
    Burlington Electric Department
    585 Pine Street | Burlington, Vermont 05401
    mkanarick@burlingtonelectric.com | 802.735.7962 (cell)
  • Burlington Town Center, UVM Medical Center, UVM, BURDES, Burlington Electric, Vermont Gas to Work with Corix Utilities to Create District Energy System
    Wednesday, September 28, 2016

    OFFICE OF MAYOR MIRO WEINBERGER

    149 Church Street | Burlington, VT 05401 | 802.865.7272

     

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contacts:  Katie Vane, Mayor’s Office, 802.734.0617
                          Mike Kanarick, Burlington Electric Department, 802.735.7962

    Burlington, VT: Mayor Miro Weinberger today at a news conference outside the Burlington Town Center announced the formation of a unique City partnership with institutions, utilities, district energy advocates, and landowners to bring Burlington the potential for significant energy savings. Through the new partnership, the Burlington Electric Department on behalf of the City, Vermont Gas Systems, the Burlington Town Center, the University of Vermont Medical Center, the University of Vermont, and the Burlington District Energy System together will work with Corix Utilities to explore the potential of creating a district energy system that likely would begin in the downtown and expand to include capturing waste heat from Burlington Electric’s McNeil Generating Station.

    “After many years of leadership on conservation and renewable energies, today Burlington is taking an important step toward achieving a cost efficiency and environmental goal that has eluded us for many years: establishing a district energy system in Burlington,” stated Mayor Weinberger. “As Burlington continues to shape its future by integrating its existing energy infrastructure with renewable power, we are fortunate that the Burlington Town Center project and Don Sinex’s commitment to bettering the Burlington community have provided this unique opportunity to explore the potential for district energy for the City. District energy has the potential to bring significant savings and long-term energy stability to Burlington’s major employers.”

    “Once again, Burlington Electric is leading through energy innovation,” stated Neale Lunderville, General Manager of Burlington Electric Department. “Having been the first city in the nation to source 100 percent of our power from renewable generation, this partnership between public institutions, private companies, and community leaders, as well as Burlington’s local gas and electric utilities, is a significant milestone on our journey toward a more sustainable energy future.”

    Lunderville continued, “The Burlington Town Center redevelopment is a game-changer for district energy in the Queen City. Without the strong commitment from both the Town Center and Vermont Gas, our options to create a roadmap for district energy in Burlington were becoming slim. By looking at the new development’s whole energy picture – that is, looking at both thermal and electric needs through the lens of new technologies – we’ve been able to fuel momentum toward making district energy a reality.”

    John St. Hilaire, Vice President of Operations at Vermont Gas Systems, stated: “Vermont Gas is focused on innovative projects that will help reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency as we move toward a clean energy future. This partnership with the City of Burlington is a unique way to continue to expand our resources within our existing footprint and showcase how a natural gas utility plays an integral part in our changing energy landscape.”

    Background: Multiple efforts over many years to create value using McNeil waste heat

    The potential positive contributions of a district energy system (DES) in Burlington have been advocated for decades by a group of engaged community stakeholders. As far back as 1994, Burlington Electric has studied and evaluated the district energy opportunity for Burlington. Feasibility studies were conducted and reports prepared for the City in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2002 with little progress after the publication of those reports. Founded in 2007, the Burlington District Energy System (BURDES) Committee, a group of interested local citizens, has worked to move a Burlington district energy project forward through the development of both financial and technical feasibility studies for the downtown, UVM MC, UVM, and other Burlington customers. In 2014, Burlington Electric, UVM MC, and UVM engaged Ever-Green Energy to complete a district energy feasibility study. The Ever-Green report concluded that, although the project was technically feasible, a number of other factors, including the low price of natural gas, made it infeasible at that time.

    Thereafter, having appointed Lunderville in July 2014 as the new General Manager at Burlington Electric, Mayor Weinberger tasked Lunderville with exploring one final effort to either find a way to move forward with the long-sought district energy plan or determine definitively that the effort was not feasible. Lunderville worked closely with BURDES, UVM MC, and UVM to rigorously review previous studies and develop a comprehensive financial model to understand the economic issues. Ultimately, by bringing the Burlington Town Center redevelopment project (with its significant new load), as well as Vermont Gas (with its extensive thermal experience), to the table, the partners saw new life for a district energy system. BED sought experienced outside partners to bid on the work, which attracted five viable proposals, including one from Corix Utilities.

    Burlington Electric and Vermont Gas, along with BTC, UVM MC, UVM, and BURDES, found Corix to be an experienced and talented partner, selecting them for the project. Corix is a privately held, community-focused corporation with international experience in providing utility infrastructure services, management, and products for municipal, institutional, military, and private-sector customers. Corix will be working with these community organizations to evaluate and understand the technical and financial viability of a Burlington-based DES, including the optimal structure for implementation, and will by June 2017 provide a definitive roadmap and implementation strategy for a DES in Burlington. The cost of the initial engagement with Corix will be evenly shared by Burlington Electric, Vermont Gas, BTC, UVM MC, and UVM with each funding one fifth of the cost of the implementation strategy study up to a total maximum cost of $75,000 for the entire study.

    How the Burlington district energy system would work and the Corix roadmap

    A district energy system allows for the provision of heat and hot water to customers by creating a thermal grid (like an electric grid, but for heat instead of electricity) from energy sources around the City. The principal source of energy for a DES in Burlington is available through the recovery of waste heat from Burlington Electric’s McNeil Generating Station, a 50-megawatt, biomass-powered generating station. That renewable energy generating process creates a tremendous amount of heat. Capturing that waste heat and converting it to usable energy through a DES will increase the efficiency of McNeil and decrease the amount of waste heat released into the environment.

    Energy would be transported through an underground distribution system of pipes running from McNeil between the Burlington Town Center (BTC), the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVM MC), and selected University of Vermont (UVM) buildings. Additional energy sources may include, but would not be limited to, solar thermal, geothermal, and other heat recovery methods.

    The new concept that emerged over the last year during the request for proposals process was the recognition that the addition of substantial new downtown load through the redevelopment of BTC made the downtown district viable.

    “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to help make district energy a reality in the new Burlington Town Center,” said Eric van Roon, Sr. Vice President at Corix. “When we look at all the different community leaders who have stepped up to support the project – from the Mayor’s Office to Burlington Electric to the University of Vermont, the University of Vermont Medical Center and other community and business leaders – it gives us a high degree of confidence that the right team is in place to position Burlington as a leader in energy delivery. Corix’s experience delivering successful district energy projects across North America tells us that district energy is financially viable, environmentally responsible, and highly reliable, but it takes a team all working together to deliver it. Corix is looking forward to being part of that team in Burlington.”

    Regarding next steps, van Roon added, “Over the next several months, we will work with the community stakeholders to determine the most efficient and cost effective means of staging and phasing the infrastructure to establish the district energy backbone, affordably connect new and existing buildings, and optimize the use of renewable energy in Burlington.”

    Jan Schultz, BURDES co-founder and former Burlington Electric Commissioner, stated: “We are excited about the recent progress made with Burlington Electric having engaged Corix and the participation of the various parties working together to take the next step toward a more sustainable city and a more efficient McNeil Station.”

    Don Sinex, Managing Director at Devonwood Investors, owner of the Burlington Town Center, stated: “We’re very excited that our project, in addition to creating more affordable housing, commercial office and retail space, road connectivity and streetscape improvements, also may fulfill the long-desired goal of bringing district energy to downtown Burlington. We are committed to transforming the Burlington Town Center into a leading model for green, sustainable downtown development and look forward to using district energy as a significant part of that success.”

    Dawn LeBaron, Vice President Hospital Services at the University of Vermont Medical Center, stated:  “We are excited to continue the conversation with partners across the City around district energy planning. This is an important conversation as we look to advance our efforts around environmental sustainability.”

    Thomas Gustafson, Vice President for University Relations and Administration at the University of Vermont, who was unable to attend the announcement, shared the following: “The University of Vermont has been a long-time proponent of the concept of district energy, over the years constructing and utilizing the largest district heating and cooling system in the State of Vermont.  Most of our buildings are connected to this system. We also support the use of renewable, sustainable energy sources, including the McNeil Generating Station, provided that it is done in an efficient and cost-effective manner.  Importantly, it must protect affordability for our primary constituents – especially our students. UVM is excited about the new approach to this long-standing challenge that has emerged in the conversations with Corix, and UVM will continue its participation in the process to assess the feasibility of creating a district energy system to serve downtown Burlington, the University of Vermont Medical Center, and selected UVM campus buildings not currently connected to UVM’s internal district system, and we look forward to the completion of this study.”

    Karen Paul, City Councilor and former Chair of the Burlington Electric Commission, stated: ““Good ideas, even great ideas, are not always adopted and acted upon quickly. They must be driven into practice with courage, patience and fortitude. BED has a long tradition, and national recognition, for being ahead of the curve, and the move to district energy is no exception. District energy was being talked about when I began serving on the Electric Commission in 1996. Our community owes a great thanks to the early adopters who kept the conversation going and to our business and institutional partners without whom we would not be here today. Also, we must thank our guiding champions like Mayor Miro Weinberger, BED General Manager Neale Lunderville, and the amazing BED staff team, whose inspiring leadership and willingness to approach challenges with zeal and determination helped us reach this day. District energy is a great idea, and I remain hopeful that its time finally has come.”

    Kelly Devine, representative of Together for Progress, Executive Director of the Burlington Business Association, and member of Building Homes Together, stated: “Burlington needs to create more housing for all, more downtown office space, and more opportunities for locally owned business in all areas of the City. The Burlington Town Center project is a critical next step. The fact that it strengthens the viability of district energy in Burlington is an added benefit. The Burlington Town Center project furthers Burlington’s climate action and clean lake goals. Taking the next step on district energy will help ensure a bright future for Burlington. We are and we will continue to be an amazing place to call home.”

    Gabrielle Stebbins, Chair of the Burlington Electric Commission, stated: “For years, the Burlington Electric Commission has heard Queen City residents express a strong interest in moving toward greater energy efficiency through district energy. Today, with this partnership, marks a great step forward in harnessing this opportunity.”

    *Please see attached District Energy Announcement Documents, which include:

    ·        Overhead map of potential district energy footprint from past BURDES study

    ·        Chart indicating potential heating load

    ·        Chart indicating carbon dioxide emission reduction potential


    Mike Kanarick
    Director of Customer Care, Community Engagement, and Communications
    Burlington Electric Department
    585 Pine Street | Burlington, Vermont 05401
    mkanarick@burlingtonelectric.com | 802.735.7962 (cell)