Equity and unintended consequences

Coop Currents Coop News

It’s the poor feeding the rich. Mack Gardner-Morse Today, WEC Treasurer Don Douglas said, net metering is “shifting the cost of running the Co-op from everybody to just the people who don’t have solar or some other form of net metering.” It’s a fundamental issue of fairness raised by regulators, WEC leaders, members, and others. When the PUC requested comments …

“It’s counterproductive:” Displacing green energy and causing rate pressure

Coop Currents Coop News

As rates rise, members lose incentive to switch from fossil fuels to electric As a cooperative electric utility with an environmental mission, WEC exists in a mixed landscape of not-for-profits, for-profits, and state goals and mandates, all working to change Vermonters’ behavior. While all are aiming to reduce emissions and fossil fuel use, “we’re running at cross purposes in getting …

Who pays the cost of poles and wires

Coop Currents Coop News

All members require infrastructure, but cost to maintain it is shifted to ratepayers WEC’s infrastructure costs have risen in recent years. The Co-op has prioritized improving reliability in the face of climate change-related storms and tree damage: that means replacing old poles, installing new poles to shorten long spans of wire, removing “danger trees” that could fall on the lines, …

An attractive partnership

Coop Currents Coop News

Under Vermont’s net metering rules, large utility customers have a financial incentive to partner with solar developers Anyone who’s run a business knows you can’t sell your product for less than you pay for it. Barry Bernstein “Since I left the legislature [in 2017], calculation rules have been drastically altered to create large commercial development of solar power,” said Tony …

The birth of an industry

Coop Currents Coop News

How the renewable energy movement led to the creation of net metering When Vermont’s legislature created the state’s net metering program in 1999, said former Board President Barry Bernstein, WEC was a strong supporter. “The intent of the net metering program was to support and encourage a fledgling industry so they could get their feet on the ground,” he explained. …

Community Fund Profile: “I love WGDR, and the chickens love it, too.”

Coop Currents Coop News

WEC Community Fund grantee Central Vermont Community Radio weathers major transitions, keeping listeners thinking, jamming, and connecting There’s a vibe, a sound to WGDR. It’s so Central Vermont. There’s this attentiveness to place, to community, to social justice, to having complicated conversations. The eclecticness of our programming is in tune with the community already. – Llu Mulvaney-Stanak Central Vermont Community …

New coaching program helps Vermonters improve their financial health and climate impact

Coop Currents Coop News

This winter, the price of heating oil spiked. This spring, gasoline topped $5 per gallon in some parts of Vermont. Many of us are feeling the pinch of inflation and cost of living increases. For years, community action agencies have offered income-eligible Vermonters support in managing their finances. Now, a new statewide program ties together financial and energy coaching, making …

President’s and General Manager’s Message

Coop Currents Coop News

WEC’s rate redesign, incentivizing beneficial electrification, now in full effect Co-op continues to support broadband rollout, Community Fund donations, and hosts two member events in September New rate design now in full effect Steve: The final phase of WEC’s rate redesign took effect July 1. According to the Public Utility Commission’s ruling, we’ve been required to implement the changes in …

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

Coop Currents Coop News

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 …

Rights-of-way 101: Responsibilities and Practices

Coop Currents Coop News

What is a right-of-way? A right-of-way is a type of easement that gives utilities the right to access private land in order to maintain shared infrastructure, such as poles and wires. Most of WEC’s power lines are distribution lines, which have a 20-foot right-of-way on either side of the line. Transmission lines have a 100-foot right-of-way. Rights-of-way exist so utilities …