New ReWire pilot program offers no-cost electrical system upgrades to eligible members

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If your home was weatherized by Capstone, you may be eligible for electrical system upgrades that help reduce fossil fuel costs and get you ready for electric vehicles

Washington Electric Cooperative and Capstone Community Action are partnering on a project to upgrade the electrical systems of some WEC members. Called ReWire, the project aims to give members electrical capacity for new electric devices – before a furnace or vehicle fails and replacing it becomes an emergency.

Many electric devices save their owners more money and are more environmentally friendly than their fossil fuel counterparts. But to install them right away, members must have adequate electrical service in place. A consumer shopping for a major device may want the new, efficient model, but needing electrical system upgrades – and needing to pay for it – can prompt them to instead install a fossil fuel replacement that works with the existing electrical system.

“There are episodes where you have to react quickly, and if there’s an economic barrier, you just
lost the opportunity to transition, and you locked out that option for another 20 years,” explained
Bill Powell, WEC’s Director of Products & Services.

Powell worked with Paul Zabriskie of Capstone to develop the ReWire program and secure VLITE (Vermont Low Income Trust for Electricity) grants to cover costs for the pilot. Eligible members will have their electrical systems upgraded, at no cost to them. This means that when the hot water heater quits working, they’ll be ready to install a new heat pump water heater instead of another fossil-fueled appliance. “It’s a big need. It’s called future-proofing,” said Powell.

In addition, WEC and Efficiency Vermont offer stackable cash incentives and attractive financing options to purchase the more efficient equipment on the market.

Who is eligible?

The pilot ReWire program is only available to those WEC members whose homes have already been weatherized by Capstone and who are currently enrolled in fuel assistance (LIHEAP). The reason is twofold: the key weatherization work has already been done – reducing drafts and improving air quality is almost always the first step in any home heating upgrade. Second, those members eligible for Capstone weatherization have already been identified as income-eligible for the purposes of the grant. At this time, no other WEC members are eligible for the program.

Eligible members will receive a letter by mail inviting them to participate. If you think you may qualify, contact Kyle McDonald at Capstone Community Action on 802-477-5257, or email


Ineligible for ReWire? You can still prepare your electrical system. Contact Bill Powell, the Energy Coach, with interest and a photo of your service entrance (fuse box).

Curious about weatherizing your home? Contact your community action agency, Capstone or NEKCA, to see if you are eligible for services at no cost to you. NEKCA partners with NETO to complete weatherization work.