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Church Street - 1920s

Our Story

Our Mission & Values

As a public power entity, BED will always put the customers – the residents and business owners of Burlington – first when making decisions, all of which will be in the best long-term interest of the city.  BED will continue to employ technically competent employees who are supportive of public power, who have a high ethical standard, and who believe in life-long learning. It will treat its employees fairly and provide the support they need to do the best job they can.

  • BED will continue to be a leader in sustainability by producing power that is as clean and as locally produced as possible.
  • BED will continue to treat the environment with the utmost respect and will continue to influence decisions and public policy that enhance environmental quality, the use of renewable resources, and the sustainability of Burlington.
  • BED will continue to provide customers with top-quality advice on energy efficiency and will promote new products that help to achieve maximum efficiency.
  • BED will continue to make its decision through an open process, seeking input from the public. Through good and fair business practices, prudent power purchases and efficiency programs, BED will continue to offer low rates and affordable bills to its customers.

Our History

Major James Burke
Mayor James Burke
At the turn of the last century, Burlington city officials, led by Mayor James Burke, initiated a drive to reduce electric power costs for street lighting and residences. At that time, the city and residential customers were paying the privately owned Burlington Light and Power Company exorbitant rates that lead to the proposal to form a municipally owned electric utility. By 1903 authorization was granted by the Vermont Legislature and Burlington voters approved bonds for construction of a generating plant; coal-fired steam generators were installed in the new facility.
Street Lights - Main Street
Street Lights

On April 29, 1905, the Burlington Electric Department (BED) began providing power for city streetlights, with homes and businesses starting to tie on just months later. Street lighting costs and residential and commercial rates dropped proving the city fathers point—much to the delight of Burlington residents. The newly formed Board of Electric Light Commissioners were so pleased with the new rates that they approved a policy to replace, at no cost, customers' burned out light bulbs!

In the early 1930s, the Department began providing street lighting for the city at no charge.

Moran Plant
Moran

Power shortages in Burlington following World War II highlighted the need for a major generating station to meet the city demand. In 1952, voters approved bonding for the 30-megawatt coal-fired Moran Generating Station, named for Mayor J.E. Moran, generating substantial savings ove

McNeil Plant
McNeil

Wood burning at the facility began in 1977 and drew worldwide attention. The continual rise in electrical demand through the ’70s and into the ’80s and the expected retirement of some existing power sources including the Moran plant prompted BED to look at other ways to provide additional generating capacity. On June 1, 1984, the McNeil Wood-Powered Electric Generating Facility began operations, leading the way in an alternative fuel and attaining worldwide recognition for the construction of the station on Intervale Road.