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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.234

Introduced by Representatives Maier of Middlebury, Clarkson of Woodstock, Edwards of Brattleboro, Jewett of Ripton, Klein of East Montpelier, Masland of Thetford, Nuovo of Middlebury, Pellett of Chester and Sharpe of Bristol

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Conservation; public service; universal thermal energy efficiency program

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to establish an energy efficiency program for unregulated fuels, which is to be run by an entity named by the public service board.  The program is to be constructed so as to be available eventually to all heated buildings located within the state, whether or not served by the electricity grid.  The bill proposes to require the public service board to develop a program which may include loans and other incentives, and, in this process, to consider an option whereby customers would pay for installed efficiency improvements, through the electric bill, with tariffed charges that are less than the savings that the improvements are estimated to produce.  The program is to be developed in conjunction with the office of state treasurer, with the goal being to develop a program acceptable to the treasurer that provides up‑front capitalization for the program from the state pension fund, and which has sufficient assurances that investments from the state pension fund will be assured a market rate of return.  The bill proposes that the establishment and administration of the program be financed by a gross receipts tax of 0.03 percent on the retail sale of heating oil and kerosene not used to propel a motor vehicle, propane, and coal, when any of these are sold by sellers receiving more than $10,000.00 annually for the sale of those fuels.  The bill proposes to establish a schedule by which new homes constructed in the state must meet increasing federal energy star home standards.  It proposes to establish time of purchase energy efficiency standards for residential rental property sold on or after December 31, 2008, and for residential nonrental property sold on or after December 31, 2013.  It proposes to establish tax credits for the construction of energy efficient homes.  It proposes to require the property transfer return to indicate that the seller has made certain energy consumption disclosures to the buyer.

AN ACT RELATING TO ESTABLISHING A UNIVERSAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAM AND INCREASING INCENTIVES AND REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OR RETROFITTING OF HOMES


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

Sec. 1.  21 V.S.A. § 266(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Adoption of Residential Building Energy Standards (RBES). Residential construction commencing on or after July 1, 1997 shall be in compliance with the standards contained in the 1995 edition of the “Model Energy Code” (MEC) prepared by the Council of American Building Officials, as those standards have been amended by the general assembly in the act that initially adopts the Model Energy Code.  Residential construction commencing on or after July 1, 2008 shall be in compliance with the standards contained in the federal Energy Star home standard as it exists on July 1, 2007.  Residential construction commencing on or after July 1, 2011 shall be in compliance with standards that have been revised to require homes to be 30 percent more efficient than the standard that existed prior to July 1, 2007.   Residential construction commencing on or after July 1, 2016 shall be in compliance with standards that have been revised to require homes to be 50 percent more efficient than the standard that existed prior to July 1, 2007.  

Sec. 2.  21 V.S.A. § 266(i) and (j) are added to read:

(i)  Time of purchase standards for residential rental property.  By no later than July 1, 2008, the commissioner of public service shall amend the RBES to create an additional category of minimum standards that must be met at the time of sale of residential rental property that is sold on or after December 31, 2008.  These standards shall include definitions that clearly define residential rental property, may be based upon an affidavit declaring the intent of the buyer, and, in the case of a single-family home, shall contain provisions that prohibit rental within six months of purchase, if the property is declared in the affidavit to be purchased for other than rental purposes.  If a property subject to this subsection was constructed recently enough to be subject to more stringent standards under this section, those more stringent standards shall apply. 

(j)  Time of purchase standards for nonrental residential property.  By no later than July 1, 2012, the commissioner of public service shall amend the RBES to create an additional category of minimum standards that must be met at the time of sale of all residential nonrental property that is sold on or after December 31, 2013.  If a property subject to this subsection was constructed recently enough to be subject to more stringent standards under this section, those more stringent standards shall apply. 

Sec. 3.  30 V.S.A. § 209(g) is added to read:

(g)  The public service board, after notice and hearing, shall provide for the development, implementation, and monitoring of a universal energy efficiency program by one or more entities appointed by the board for these purposes.  Entities appointed under subdivision (d)(2) of this section also may be appointed to fulfill the purposes of this section.

(1)  The entity or entities appointed under this section shall propose, develop, solicit, and monitor cost‑effective energy efficiency programs in the state which may include programs that:

(A)  Provide financial and technical assistance to improve thermal energy efficiency in the state.

(B)  Encourage investment in innovative products, technologies, or services that promote thermal energy efficiency.

(C)  Explore collaboration or contracting with private industry to provide thermal energy efficiency services and programs.

(2)  Any program created under this section shall:

(A)  Be established first as a pilot project in conjunction with one regulated utility designated by the board, but shall be expanded at a pace established by the board so as to be available eventually to all end consumers of electricity, whether or not connected to the grid, regardless of the type of fuel used by the heating plant of the consumer and regardless of the income level of the owners or residents. 

(B)  Include an energy audit which shall result in a list of recommended measures, together with a projection of expected payback periods for alternatives recommended.

(3)  The program established under this section may address:  efficiencies in building heating and cooling systems; who is to perform the work recommended; what material or products are to be used in the work recommended; the inspection of the work that is financed; the repayment process; and owner responsibilities to repay loans.

(4)  The administration of the program shall be funded by a sales and use tax on domestic heating fuels assessed under 32 V.S.A. § 9741(26), which shall be paid into a universal thermal energy efficiency fund to be established and administered by an administrator appointed by the board.

(5)  The program shall be structured to include loans or other incentives, or both.  In developing the program, the public service board shall consider establishing a Pay As You Save (PAYS®) system, which allows customers to pay for cost-effective efficiency improvements over time through a tariffed charge on their electric bill, using savings generated by the improvements, and is hereby authorized to approve PAYS® tariffs.

(6)  Any PAYS® tariff established at an electric utility shall be available to customers for the purchase of measures that are cost-effective based on current retail energy costs.

(7)  The program shall be developed in conjunction with the office of state treasurer, with the goal being to develop a program acceptable to the treasurer that provides up‑front capitalization for the program from the state pension fund, and which has sufficient assurances that investments from the state pension fund will be assured a market rate of return.

Sec. 4.  30 V.S.A. § 209(h) is added to read:

     (h)  Energy Efficient Home Rebate.  The owner of a residence which in the prior calendar year achieved an index of zero on the home energy rating system (HERS), as certified by the commissioner of the department of public service, shall be entitled to payment from the commissioner of an energy rebate in the amount of $5,000.00.

Sec. 5.  32  V.S.A. § 435(b)(11) is amended to read:

(b)  The general fund shall be composed of revenues from the following sources:

* * *

(11)  Two-thirds of the revenue from sales and use taxes levied pursuant to chapter 233 of this title, minus the sales and use tax revenue transferred to the universal thermal energy efficiency program under subdivision 9741(26) of this title;

Sec. 6.  32 V.S.A. § 9606(c) is amended to read: 

(c)  The property transfer return required under this section shall also contain a certificate in such form as the secretary of the agency of natural resources and the commissioner of taxes jointly shall prescribe and shall be signed under oath or affirmation by each of the parties or their legal representatives.  The certificate shall indicate all of the following:


(1)  whether Whether the transfer is in compliance with or is exempt from regulations governing potable water supplies and wastewater systems under chapter 64 of Title 10; and.

(2)  that That the seller has advised the purchaser that local and state building regulations, zoning regulations, subdivision regulations, and potable water supply and wastewater system requirements pertaining to the property may significantly limit the use of the property.

(3)  That the seller has disclosed to the buyer annual energy consumption at the property for the preceding five years or any period of occupancy since the house was constructed, whichever is less, or has provided a home energy rating performed within the two years immediately preceding the date of closing by a home energy rating organization accredited under 21 V.S.A.

§ 267.

Sec. 7.  32 V.S.A. § 9741(26) is amended to read:

(26)  Sales One-half of the sales price for sales of electricity, oil, gas, and other fuels used in a residence for all domestic use including heating.  The commissioner shall by rule determine that portion of the sales attributable to domestic use where fuels are used for purposes in addition to domestic use.  The revenue from the sales and use tax on domestic heating fuels under this chapter shall be deposited into the universal thermal energy efficiency fund established under 30 V.S.A. § 209(g).  Fuel sellers may include the following message on bills to retail customers:  “The amount of this bill includes Vermont sales tax on one-half the purchase price of domestic heating fuels, enacted in 2007, for support of Vermont’s universal thermal energy efficiency program.”

Sec. 8.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Sec. 7 of this act (sales tax for energy efficiency program) shall apply to sales and uses on and after July 1, 2007.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us