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NO. 208.  AN ACT RELATING TO THE ENERGY SECURITY AND RELIABILITY ACT.

(H.859)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  DESIGNATION OF ACT

This act shall be referred to as the Vermont energy security and reliability act.

Sec. 2.  PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT IN POWER PLANNING

(a)  The state shall conduct a comprehensive statewide public engagement process on energy planning, focused on electric energy supply choices facing the state beginning in 2012.  The commissioner of public service and the joint energy committee shall develop and implement a public engagement process through a request for proposal (RFP) process that meets the following requirements:

(1)  to provide a strong information dissemination component, in order to develop a shared foundation of credible information that may serve as a basis for engaging in a meaningful dialogue;

(2)  to be conducted in a manner that recognizes that potential choices for Vermont’s electric energy supply may be precluded by the passage of time;

(3)  to engage a broad base of Vermonters, including those who are currently engaged in energy issues as well as those who have not yet been engaged;

(4)  to reach throughout the state, as all Vermonters are stakeholders in this issue; and to establish a model for educating the public about the electric energy supply challenges facing the state.

(b)  In a manner consistent with available resources and consistent with subsection (a) of this section, the commissioner of public service shall assist communities to identify local and regional energy opportunities, such as combined heat and power sites, and energy efficiency opportunities that will fit into the community, and to assist communities interested in developing community energy plans or community climate change action plans, as well as those communities that are facing major capital energy projects.

(c)  By November 15, 2007, the commissioner of public service shall submit a report to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy, on commerce, and on finance describing the progress of the public education and engagement process.

* * * Enforcement of Commercial Building Energy Standards (CBES) * * *

Sec. 3.  4 V.S.A. § 437 is amended to read:

§ 437.  CIVIL JURISDICTION OF DISTRICT COURT

The district court shall have jurisdiction of the following actions:

(1)  Appeals of final decisions of the judicial bureau.

* * *

(13)  Proceedings to enforce 21 V.S.A. § 268, relating to commercial building energy standards.

* * * Regulation of Dams * * *

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 1086 is amended to read:

§ 1086.  DETERMINATION OF PUBLIC GOOD; CERTIFICATES

(a)  “Public good” means the greatest benefit of the people of the state.  In determining whether the public good is served, the state agency having jurisdiction shall give due consideration, among other things, to the effect the proposed project will have on:

(1)  the quantity, kind, and extent of cultivated agricultural land that may be rendered unfit for use by or enhanced by the project, including both the immediate and long range agricultural land use impacts;

(2)  scenic and recreational values;

(3)  fish and wildlife;

(4)  forests and forest programs;

(5)  the need for a minimum water discharge flow rate schedule to protect the natural rate of flow and the water quality of the affected waters;

(6)  the existing uses of the waters by the public for boating, fishing, swimming, and other recreational uses;

(7)  the creation of any hazard to navigation, fishing, swimming, or other public uses;

(8)  the need for cutting clean and removal of all timber or tree growth from all or part of the flowage area;

(9)  the creation of any public benefits;

(10)  the classification, if any, of the affected waters under chapter 47 of this title;

(11)  any applicable state, regional or municipal plans;

(12)  municipal grand lists and revenues; and

(13)  public safety; and

(14)  in the case of proposed removal of a dam that formerly related to or was incident to the generation of electric energy, but which was not subject to a memorandum of understanding dated prior to January 1, 2006 relating to its removal, the potential for and value of future power production.

(b)  If the state agency having jurisdiction finds that the proposed project will serve the public good, and, in case of any waters designated by the board as outstanding resource waters, will preserve or enhance the values and activities sought to be protected by designation, the agency shall issue its order approving the application.  The order shall include conditions for minimum stream flow to protect fish and instream aquatic life, as determined by the agency of natural resources, and such other conditions as the agency having jurisdiction considers necessary to protect any element of the public good listed above.  Otherwise it shall issue its order disapproving the application.

(c)  The agency shall provide the applicant and interested parties with copies of its order.

(d)  In the case of a proposed removal of a dam that is under the jurisdiction of the department and that formerly related to or was incident to the generation of electric energy but that was not subject to a memorandum of understanding dated before January 1, 2006 relating to its removal, the department shall consult with the department of public service regarding the potential for and value of future power production at the site.

* * * Clean Energy Development Fund * * *

Sec. 5.  10 V.S.A. § 6523 is amended to read:

§ 6523.  VERMONT CLEAN ENERGY DEVELOPMENT FUND

(a)  Creation of fund.

(1)  There is established the Vermont clean energy development fund to consist of:

* * *

(d)  Expenditures authorized.

(1)  This fund shall be administered by the department of public service to facilitate the development and implementation of clean energy resources.  The fund shall not be used to meet costs of administration.

* * *

(4)  Projects for funding may include the following:

(A)  projects that will sell power in commercial quantities;

(B)  among those projects that will sell power in commercial quantities, funding priority will be given to those projects that commit to sell power to Vermont utilities on favorable terms;

(C)  projects to benefit publicly owned or leased buildings;

(D)  renewable energy projects on farms, which may include any or all costs incurred to upgrade to a three-phase line to serve a system on a farm;

(E)  small scale renewable energy in Vermont residences and businesses; and

(F)  projects under the agricultural economic development special account established under 6 V.S.A. § 4710(g) to harvest biomass, convert biomass to energy, or produce biofuel;

(G)  until December 31, 2008 only, super-efficient buildings; and

(H)  effective projects that are not likely to be established in the absence of funding under the program.

(e)  Management of fund. 

(1)(A)  There is created the clean energy development fund advisory committee, which shall consist of the commissioner of public service, or a designee, and the chairs of the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy, or their designees.

(B)  There is created the clean energy development fund investment committee, which shall consist of seven persons appointed by the clean energy development fund advisory committee.

(2)  The commissioner of public service shall:

(A)  by no later than October 30, 2006:

(i)  develop a five year strategic plan and an annual program plan, both of which shall be developed with input from a public stakeholder process;

(ii)  develop an annual operating budget;

(iii)  develop proposed program designs to facilitate clean energy market and project development (including use of financial assistance, investments, competitive solicitations, technical assistance, and other incentive programs and strategies); and

(iv)  submit the plans, budget, and program designs to the clean energy development fund advisory committee for review and to the clean energy development fund investment committee for approval;

(B)  adopt rules by no later than January 1, 2007 to carry out the program approved under this subdivision;

(C)  explore pursuing joint investments in clean energy projects with other state funds and private investors to increase the effectiveness of the clean energy development fund;

(D)  acting jointly with the members of the clean energy development fund investment committee, make decisions with respect to specific grants and investments, after the plans, budget, and program designs have been approved by the clean energy development fund investment committee.  This subdivision (D) shall be repealed upon the effective date of rules adopted under subdivision (2)(B) of this subsection.

(3)  During fiscal years after FY 2006, up to five percent of amounts appropriated to the public service department from the fund may be used for administrative costs related to the clean energy development fund.

* * * Building Standards * * *

Sec. 6.  21 V.S.A. chapter 3, subchapter 9 is redesignated to read:

Subchapter 9.  Residential Building Energy Standards

Sec. 7.  21 V.S.A. § 266(c) is amended to read:

(c)  Revision and interpretation of energy standards.  On or about January 1, 1999, and at least every three years thereafter, the commissioner of labor and industry public service shall amend and update the RBES, by means of administrative rules adopted in accordance with 3 V.S.A. chapter 25.  The department of public service shall provide technical assistance and expert advice to the commissioner in the interpretation of the RBES and in the formulation of specific proposals for amending the RBES.  At least a year prior to final adoption of each required revision of the RBES, the department of public service shall convene an advisory committee to include one or more mortgage lenders, builders, building designers, utility representatives, and other persons with experience and expertise, such as consumer advocates and energy conservation experts.  The advisory committee may provide the commissioner with additional recommendations for revision of the RBES.

(1)  Any amendments to the RBES shall be:

(A)  Consistent with duly adopted state energy policy, as specified in 30 V.S.A. § 202a, and consistent with duly adopted state housing policy.

(B)  Evaluated relative to their technical applicability and reliability.

(C)  Cost-effective and affordable from the consumer’s perspective.

* * *

(6)  The advisory committee convened under this subsection, in preparing for the RBES update required on or about January 1, 1999, shall advise the department of public service and the commissioner of labor and industry public service with respect to the coordination of the RBES amendments with existing and proposed demand side management programs offered by utilities in the state.

* * *

Sec. 8.  21 V.S.A. § 268 is added to read:

§ 268.  COMMERCIAL BUILDING ENERGY STANDARDS

(a)  Definitions.  For purposes of this subchapter, “commercial buildings” means all buildings that are not residential buildings or farm structures as defined in 24 V.S.A. § 4413.

(1)  The following buildings, or portions of those buildings, separated from the remainder of the building by thermal envelope assemblies complying with this section shall be exempt from the building thermal envelope provisions of the standards:

(A)  Those that do not contain conditioned space.

(B)  Those with a peak design rate of energy usage less than an amount specified in the commercial building energy standards (CBES).

(2)  These standards shall not apply to equipment or portions of building energy systems that use energy primarily to provide for industrial, manufacturing, or commercial processes.

(b)  Adoption of commercial building energy standards.  Commercial building construction with respect to which no state or local permit application has been submitted on or after January 1, 2007 shall be in compliance with the standards contained in the 2005 Vermont Guidelines for Energy Efficient Commercial Construction, as those standards may be amended by administrative rule adopted by the commissioner of public service.

(c)  Revision and interpretation of energy standards.  On or about January 1, 2009, and at least every three years thereafter, the commissioner of public service shall amend and update the CBES by means of administrative rules adopted in accordance with 3 V.S.A. chapter 25.  At least a year prior to final adoption of each required revision of the CBES, the department of public service shall convene an advisory committee to include one or more mortgage lenders, builders, building designers, utility representatives, and other persons with experience and expertise, such as consumer advocates and energy conservation experts.  The advisory committee may provide the commissioner of public service with additional recommendations for revision of the CBES.

(1)  Any amendments to the CBES shall be:

(A)  Consistent with duly adopted state energy policy, as specified in 30 V.S.A. § 202a.

(B)  Evaluated relative to their technical applicability and reliability.

(2)  Each time the CBES are amended by the commissioner of public service, the amended CBES shall become effective upon a date specified in the adopted rule, a date that shall not be less than three months after the date of adoption.  Persons submitting an application for any state or local permit authorizing commercial construction before the effective date of the amended CBES shall have the option of complying with the applicable provisions of the earlier or the amended CBES.  After the effective date of the original or the amended CBES, any person submitting an application for any state or local permit authorizing commercial construction in an area subject to the CBES shall comply with the most recent version of the CBES.

(3)  The advisory committee convened under this subsection, in preparing for the CBES updates, shall advise the department of public service with respect to the coordination of the CBES amendments with existing and proposed demand‑side management programs offered in the state.

(d)  Certification requirement.  Commercial buildings shall be certified as compliant with CBES in accordance with this subsection.  A certification may be issued by a builder, a licensed professional engineer, or a licensed architect.  If certification is not issued by a licensed professional engineer or a licensed architect, it shall be issued by the builder.  Any certification shall be accompanied by an affidavit and shall certify that the commercial construction meets the CBES.  The department of public service will develop and make available to the public a certificate that lists key features of the CBES.  Any person certifying shall use this certificate or one substantially like it to certify compliance with CBES.  Certification shall be issued by completing and signing a certificate and permanently affixing it to the outside of the heating or cooling equipment, to the electrical service panel located inside the building, or in a visible location in the vicinity of one of these three areas.  The certificate shall certify that the building has been constructed in compliance with the requirements of the CBES.  The person certifying under this subsection shall provide a copy of each certificate to the department of public service and shall assure that a certificate is recorded and indexed in the town land records.  A builder may contract with a licensed professional engineer or a licensed architect to issue certification and to indemnify the builder from any liability to the owner of the commercial construction caused by noncompliance with the CBES.

(e)  Action for damages.

(1)  Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a person aggrieved by noncompliance with this section may bring a civil action against a person who has the obligation of certifying compliance under subsection (d) of this section.  This action may seek injunctive relief, damages, court costs, and attorneys’ fees.  As used in this subdivision, “damages” means:

(A)  costs incidental to increased energy consumption; and

(B)  labor, materials, and other expenses associated with bringing the structure into compliance with CBES in effect on the date construction was commenced.

(2)  A person’s failure to affix the certification as required by this section shall not be an affirmative defense in such an action against the person.

(3)  The rights and remedies created by this section shall not be construed to limit any rights and remedies otherwise provided by law.

(4)  The right of action established in this subsection may not be waived by contract or other agreement.

(f)  Violation of section.  Any person who falsely certifies under this section, or any builder who fails to certify under this section when required to do so, shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $250.00.  Each violation shall constitute a separate offense, and each day that the violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.

(g)  Title validity not affected.  A defect in marketable title shall not be created by a failure to issue certification or a certificate, as required under subsection (d) of this section, or by a failure under that subsection to:  affix a certificate; provide a copy of a certificate to the department of public service; or record and index a certificate in the town records.

* * * Regional Planning Commission Powers * * *

Sec. 9.  24 V.S.A. § 4345 is amended to read:

§ 4345.  OPTIONAL POWERS AND DUTIES OF REGIONAL PLANNING

               COMMISSIONS

Any regional planning commission created under this chapter may:

(1)  Develop an inventory of the region’s fire and safety facilities; hospitals, rest homes, or other facilities for aging or disabled persons; correctional facilities; and emergency shelters; and work with regulated utilities, the department of public service, the department of public safety, potential developers of distributed power facilities, adjoining regional planning commissions, interested adjoining regional entities from adjoining states, and citizens of the region to propose and evaluate alternative sites for distributed power facilities that might provide uninterrupted local or regional power at least for identified critical service providers in time of extended national, statewide, or regional power disruption or other emergency.

* * *

* * * Funding of Efficiency Utility * * *

Sec. 10.  30 V.S.A. § 209(d) is amended to read:

(d)(1)  The public service department, any entity appointed by the board under subdivision (2) of this subsection, all gas and electric utility companies, and the board upon its own motion, are encouraged to propose, develop, solicit, and monitor energy efficiency and conservation programs and measures, including appropriate combined heat and power systems that result in the conservation and efficient use of energy and meet the applicable agency of natural resources’ air quality standards.  Such programs and measures, and their implementation, may be approved by the board if it determines they will be beneficial to the ratepayers of the companies after such notice and hearings as the board may require by order or by rule.

* * *

(4)  The charge established by the board pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection shall be in an amount determined by the board by rule or order that is consistent with the principles of least cost integrated planning as defined in section 218c of this title.  As circumstances and programs evolve, the amount of the charge shall be reviewed for unrealized energy efficiency potential and shall be adjusted as necessary in order to realize all reasonably available, cost-effective energy efficiency savings.  In setting the amount of the charge and its allocation, the board shall determine an appropriate balance among the following objectives:, provided, however, that particular emphasis shall be accorded to the first four of these objectives:  reducing the size of future power purchases; reducing the generation of greenhouse gases; limiting the need to upgrade the state’s transmission and distribution infrastructure; minimizing the costs of electricity; providing efficiency and conservation as a part of a comprehensive resource supply strategy; providing the opportunity for all Vermonters to participate in efficiency and conservation programs; and the value of targeting efficiency and conservation efforts to locations, markets or customers where they may provide the greatest value.  The board, by rule or order, shall establish a process by which a customer may apply to the board for an exemption from some or all of the charges assessed under this subdivision.  The board shall establish criteria by which these applications shall be measured.  Any such exemption shall extend for a period of time not to exceed one year.  In addition, the board may authorize exemptions only if, at a minimum, a customer demonstrates that, during the preceding year, it implemented an extraordinary amount of cost-effective energy efficiency at the customer’s own expense or incurred extraordinary costs on those measures and the customer did not and will not receive reimbursement for those measures from the entity designated by the board under this section.

Sec. 10a.  30 V.S.A. § 209c is added to read:

§ 209c.  ELECTRICITY AFFORDABILITY PROGRAM

(a)  The board of public service shall design a proposed electricity affordability program in the form of draft legislation.  The program shall be developed with the aid of an electricity affordability program collaborative.  The collaborative, composed of representatives from the electric utilities, residential customers, consumer representatives, low-income program representatives, elderly program representatives, the department of public service, the department of human services, and other stakeholders identified by the board, shall aid in the development of an electricity affordability program, as well as requirements for the implementation and funding of the program.  The proposed electricity affordability program will be presented to the Vermont General Assembly in the form of draft legislation for consideration in January 2007.

(b)  The proposed electricity affordability program shall provide assistance in the payment of electricity bills for eligible low income residential customers served by electric companies subject to the jurisdiction of the board.

(c)  In developing the electricity affordability program, the board shall review the successes and administrative burdens of similar programs in operation in other states and consider the following goals, which shall be afforded equal weight in formulating the program:

(1)  The need to provide payment assistance to low-income customers at and below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level;

(2)  The need for automatic screening and enrollment methods of eligible customers by means of information obtained from existing means-tested financial assistance programs administered by other Vermont agencies such as food stamps, Medicaid, LIHEAP or TANF; and

(3)  The need to design a program that is funded by all customer classes in an equitable and reasonable manner and that results in the reimbursement of net incremental costs incurred by electric utilities to implement the program, taking into consideration the benefits as well as the costs.   

Sec. 10b.  AFFORDABILITY STUDY

The department of public service in conjunction with the department for children and families and the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living shall investigate and prepare a comprehensive report on all of the statewide public and private programs that address poverty.  The report shall compare the overall assistance provided in Vermont with the assistance provided to low income families in other states in the Northeast and the rest of the country.  The report shall be presented to the senate committees on finance and economic development, housing, and general affairs and the house committees on commerce and human services on or before January 15, 2007. 

* * * Rate Design * * *

Sec. 11.  30 V.S.A. § 218(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The department of public service shall propose, and the board through the establishment of rates of return, rates, tolls, charges, or schedules shall encourage the implementation by electric and gas utilities of energy-efficiency and load management measures which will be cost-effective for the utilities and their customers on a life cycle cost basis.  The board shall approve rate designs to encourage the efficient use of natural gas and electricity, including consideration of the creation of an inclining block rate structure for residential rate customers with an initial block of low‑cost power available to all residences.

* * * Net Metering * * *

Sec. 12.  30 V.S.A. § 219a is amended to read:

§ 219a.  SELF-GENERATION AND NET METERING

(a)  As used in this section:

* * *

(3)  “Net metering system” means a facility for generation of electricity that:

* * *

(E)  employs a renewable energy source and utilizes a photovoltaic array, wind turbine, fuel cell, biomass gasification and farm electrical generating technology as defined in subdivision 8002(2) of this title.

* * *

(4)  “Farm system” means a facility of no more than 150 kilowatts (AC) output capacity, except as provided in subdivision (k)(5) of this section, that generates electric energy on a farm operated by a person principally engaged in the business of farming, as that term is defined in Regulation 1.175-3 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, from the anaerobic digestion of agricultural products, byproducts, or wastes, or other renewable sources as defined in subdivision (3)(E) of this subsection, intended to offset the meters designated under subdivision (g)(1)(A) of this section on the farm or has entered into a contract as specified in subsection (k) of this section.

* * *

(e)  Consistent with the other provisions of this title, electric energy measurement for net metering systems using a single nondemand meter that are not farm systems shall be calculated in the following manner:

* * *

(3)  If electricity generated by the customer exceeds the electricity supplied by the electric company:

* * *

(C)  At the beginning of each calendar year, any remaining unused kilowatt-hour credit accumulated during the previous year Any accumulated kilowatt-hour credits shall be used within 12 months, or shall revert to the electric company, without any compensation to the customer.  Power reverting to the electric company under this subdivision (3) shall be considered SPEED resources under section 8005 of this title.

* * *

(f)  Consistent with the other provisions of this title, electric energy measurement for net metering farm systems shall be calculated in the following manner:

* * *

(3)  If electricity generated by the farm system exceeds the electricity supplied by the electric company:

* * *

(C)  Any accumulated kilowatt-hour credits shall be used within 12 months or shall revert to the electric company without any compensation to the farm system.  Power reverting to the electric company under this subdivision (3) shall be considered SPEED resources under section 8005 of this title.

* * *

(h)(1)  An electric company:

(A)  Shall make net metering available to any customer using a net metering system or farm system on a first-come, first-served basis until the cumulative generating output capacity of net metering systems equals 1.0 percent of the distribution company’s peak demand during 1996; or the peak demand during the most recent full calendar year, whichever is less; provided, however, an electric company and a farm system may jointly petition the board to exceed this capacity greater.  The board may raise the 1.0 percent cap.  In determining whether to exceed raise the cap, the board shall consider the following:

* * *

(E)  May charge reasonable fees for interconnection, establishment, special metering, meter reading, accounting, account correcting, and account maintenance of farm system net metering arrangements of greater than 15 kilowatt (AC) capacity;

* * *

(H)  May book and defer, with carrying costs, additional incremental costs, to the extent that such costs are not recovered through charges, authorized in subdivisions (D), (E), and (F) of this subdivision (1), directly related to implementing farm system net metering of greater than 15 kilowatt (AC) capacity;

* * *

(k)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (f) and (g) of this section, an electric company may contract to purchase all or a portion of the output products from a farm system, provided:

* * *

(4)  any contract may permit all or a portion of the tradeable renewable energy credits for which the farm system is eligible to be transferred to the electric company;

(5)  the output capacity of a system may exceed 150 kilowatts, provided:

(A)  the contract assigns the amount of power to be net metered;

(B)  the net metered amount does not exceed 150 kilowatts; and

(C)  only the amount assigned to net metering is assessed to the cap provided in subdivision (h)(1)(A) of this section.

Sec. 13.  30 V.S.A. § 219b is added to read:

§ 219b.  NET METERING PROGRAM EXPANSION

(a)  The public service board shall expand the scope of the net metering program established in section 219a of this title, by rule or order, in accordance with the provisions of this section.  As part of this expansion, the board shall consider:

(1)  expanding the maximum kilowatt (AC) capacity of facilities that may participate in the program;

(2)  allowing group net meter systems and defining membership in the group, which may be limited to, but need not be limited to, groups that consist of:

(A)  physically contiguous customers; and

(B)  a municipal customer for municipal and school uses, regardless of whether those uses are contiguous;

(3)  providing compensation to the customer for any remaining unused kilowatt-hour credit accumulated during the previous 12 months;

(4)  developing a system that allows the capture and sale of renewable energy credits (RECs) from net metering, including consideration of the need for electric companies to meet their infrastructure costs and the need to provide net metered energy producers with sufficient incentives to encourage substantial development of net metered sources of electricity; and

(5)  allowing net metering systems to be considered SPEED resources.

(b)  Among the factors the board shall consider in performing its functions under this section shall be the following:  potential short- and long-term impacts on rates, distribution system costs and benefits, and reliability and diversification costs and benefits.

(c)  Before December 15, 2006 the public service board shall file a report with the senate committees on finance and on natural resources and energy and the house committees on commerce and on natural resources and energy regarding the expansion of net metering.

* * * PSB Reports * * *

Sec. 14.  30 V.S.A. § 8004(f) is amended to read:

(f)  Before December 30, 2007 and again before December 30, 2009 biennially thereafter through December 30, 2013, the public service board shall file a report with the senate committees on finance and on natural resources and energy and the house committees on commerce and on natural resources and energy.  The report shall include the following:

(1)  the total cumulative load growth in electric energy usage in Vermont from 2005 through the end of the year that precedes the date on which the report is due;

* * *

(7)  an assessment of the energy efficiency and renewable energy markets and recommendations to the legislature regarding strategies that may be necessary to encourage the use of these resources to help meet upcoming supply requirements; and

(8)  any recommendations for statutory change related to this section, including recommendations for rewarding utilities that make substantial investments in SPEED resources; and

(9)  the board’s recommendations on how the state might best continue to meet the goals established in section 8001 of this title, including whether the state should meet its growth in energy usage over the succeeding 10 years by a continuation of the SPEED program.

* * * SPEED Program * * *

Sec. 15.  30 V.S.A. § 8005 is amended to read:

§ 8005.  SUSTAINABLY PRICED ENERGY ENTERPRISE

               DEVELOPMENT (SPEED) PROGRAM

* * *

(b)  The SPEED program shall be established, after notice and hearing by rule, order, or contract, by the public service board by January 1, 2007.  As part of the SPEED program, the public service board may:

* * *

(7)  establish a method for Vermont retail electrical providers to obtain beneficial ownership of the renewable energy credits associated with any SPEED projects, in the event that a renewable portfolio standard is in comes into effect under the provisions of section 8004 of this title;

* * *

(d)(1)  The public service board shall meet on or before January 1, 2012, open a proceeding, and issue findings determining the amount of qualifying SPEED resources that have come into service or are projected to come into service during the period of time between January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2013.  If the board finds that the amount of qualifying SPEED resources coming into service during that time exceeds total statewide growth in demand electric energy usage during the period of time between January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2012, or if it finds that the amount of qualifying SPEED resources exceeds 10 percent of total statewide load electric energy usage for calendar year 2005, the portfolio standards established under this chapter shall not be in force.  The board shall make its determination by July 1, 2012.  If the board finds that the goal established has not been met, one year after the board’s determination the portfolio standards established under subsection 8004(b) of this title shall take effect.

* * *

(e)  By no later than September 1, 2006, the public service board shall provide, by order or rule, the regulations and procedures that are necessary to allow the public service board and the department of public service to implement, and to supervise further the implementation and maintenance of the SPEED program.  These rules shall assure that decisions with respect to certificate of public good applications for SPEED resources shall be made in a timely manner.

(f)  In order to encourage joint efforts on the part of regulated companies to purchase power that meets or exceeds the SPEED standards and to secure stable, long‑term contracts beneficial to Vermonters, the board may establish standards for pre-approving the recovery of costs incurred on a SPEED project that is the subject of that joint effort.

* * * Notice to Efficiency Utility * * *

Sec. 16.  33 V.S.A. § 2608 is amended to read:

§ 2608.  WEATHERIZATION PROGRAM AGREEMENTS

The director of the home energy assistance program shall inform the administrator of the home weatherization assistance program, established under chapter 25 of this title, of all participants in the home heating fuel assistance program.  The agency of human services shall provide all participants in the home heating fuel assistance program with information regarding the efficiency utility established under 30 V.S.A. § 209.  All participants in the home heating fuel assistance program shall be deemed to comply with any income requirements of the home weatherization program, but to receive weatherization services recipients shall be required to meet any other eligibility requirements of the weatherization program.  As a condition of receipt of benefits under the home heating fuel assistance program, a recipient shall consent to receive services of the home weatherization assistance program.  The home weatherization assistance program shall give priority to providing services to participants with high energy consumption. 

* * * Amendment of Residential Building Energy Standards (RBES) * * *

Sec. 17.  AMENDMENT TO THE VERMONT RESIDENTIAL BUILDING

               ENERGY STANDARD

(a)  Section 401 of the Vermont Residential Building Energy Standard is amended to read:

401.1  Home energy rating.  A home energy rating, from a Vermont-accredited home energy rating organization, that is determined to indicate thermal energy performance equivalent to the RBES, shall be an acceptable means of demonstrating compliance with the RBES.  A home energy rating point equivalent of 82 85 points for single or multiple family homes, or 80 95 points for log homes, on the point scale established by the Vermont Home Energy Rating Technical Guidelines adopted by the Vermont DPS on May 22, 2003, shall be deemed to indicate energy performance equivalent to the RBES.

(b)  The amendment to the standard made by this section may be further amended by administrative rule adopted by the commissioner of public service pursuant to 21 V.S.A. § 266(c).

* * * Efficiency Utility Study * * *

Sec. 18.  EFFICIENCY UTILITY STUDY

The department of public service is directed to conduct a study that analyzes the related costs and benefits of establishing a coordinated and comprehensive program to maximize cost‑effective energy efficiency in all buildings, regardless of a particular building’s source of fuel and regardless of the income of the building owner.  The study should specifically consider various program options to reduce consumption of oil, kerosene, propane, and other fuels not provided by utilities under the jurisdiction of 30 V.S.A. § 209.  The results of the study shall be provided to the general assembly by January 15, 2007.

Sec. 19.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This section and Sec. 5 (clean energy development fund) shall take effect upon passage.

Sec. 20.  REPEAL

Subsection (b) of Sec. 13 of No. 61 of the Acts of 2005 (biennial report on meeting goals and on future of SPEED) is repealed.

Approved:  May 31, 2006



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us