March 29, 2022
Waterbury Center, Vermont – The Vermont House has passed comprehensive transportation and appropriations bills that include significant investments in the state’s efforts to electrify the economy, including funding for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) in public power communities. VPPSA represents its 11 community-owned electric utility members as a leading advocate for this funding and celebrates reaching this stage in the legislative process.
“On behalf of the VPPSA member utilities, I’d like to express our thanks to our House Representatives for including AMI funding in the Big Bill,” said Swanton Village Manager and Chair of the VPPSA Board of Directors, Reginald Beliveau. “Providing funding for this technology to be installed in some of Vermont’s most rural communities, where it wouldn’t be possible otherwise, shows a true commitment to achieving energy equity.”
The bill, which now heads to the Senate, includes $5 million for a 50% reimbursement to municipal and cooperative electrical distribution utilities for the implementation of AMI systems approved by the Public Utility Commission.
As Vermont advances towards meeting its climate action and energy requirements, it will be crucial for utilities to modernize their infrastructure to meet increasingly dynamic customer and load demands. AMI is a foundational technology for managing the Vermont grid and providing utility customers with advanced program offerings. This state investment will ensure equitable access to this technology for all Vermonters and acts as a seed investment to open further federal funding opportunities.
An $11 million funding request for AMI was supported by all 17 Vermont electric utilities as part of a comprehensive package of investments aimed at modernizing Vermont’s electric grid. While nearly 90% Vermont electric consumers already have access to AMI due to a federal grant received by the state’s larger utilities in 2009, the remaining 10%, mainly in rural parts of the state, were not able to take advantage of that funding. Deploying state funds now helps to close the existing technology gap and positions all Vermonters to access forthcoming federal Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA) funding.
As the bill undergoes review by the Senate, VPPSA will continue to advocate for full funding of the utility request to obtain equitable treatment across the state.