State Steps Up Energy Efficiency, Albeit Slowly

08/05/11 5:04PM The Associated Press

AP/Toby Talbot
Fred Barnett, director of facilities at National Life Insurance Company, holds an LED light fixture which will replace older pole lights in Montpelier.
(Host) Vermont utility regulators have approved a three-year budget for the statewide energy efficiency utility program that calls for gradual growth and increases electric rates in each of those years by less than 1 percent.

Officials who administrate the Efficiency Vermont program say the state will invest about $128 million in efficiency efforts in 2012 through 2013, but reap about $259 million in saved energy costs as a result. That's a better than two-to-one return on investment.

The efficiency budgeting exercise is getting the same kind of criticism from both sides that it has received in past years, with the Conservation Law Foundation saying the state isn't being ambitious enough, and some business groups saying the efficiency programs are too costly.

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