Members of Vermont Electric Cooperative have a chance this year to save hundreds of dollars on their electricity bills.
The Johnson-based co-op is providing significant financial incentives to members who buy or lease new or used all-electric vehicles. VEC is also giving bill credits to those who set up charging stations or buy certain types of energy-saving appliances: pellet stoves, heat pumps and heat pump water heaters.
Eric and Ingrid Nuse are among the 300 members taking advantage of the VEC Energy Transformation Program. The Nuses bought a Nissan Leaf last fall and received a $500 one-time bill credit from VEC for their purchase of an all-electric vehicle.
Members who lease fully electric cars get a $100-per-year credit from the co-op. Drivers of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, such as a Chevy Volt or a Toyota Prius Prime, get a $250 one-time bill credit for purchase or $50 per year for a lease.
Eric Nuse said that in addition to the VEC bill credit, he’s saving money with his new EV as it costs significantly less to run and maintain than a gasoline-powered car.
“The car is wonderful—it’s a joy to drive—it’s comfortable, quiet and plenty peppy,” he said.
Appliance buyers can receive electric bill credits of $150 for a cold climate heat pump per outdoor unit, a heat pump water heater or a pellet stove. VEC will give those who install charging stations for EVs $500 per head unit for a level two or better charging station. A charging station with two heads earns a $1,000 credit.
“We also have an opportunity called the Clean Air Program to help off-grid or underserved members get electric service so that they can retire fossil fuel generators. That’s been a big success in getting carbon savings,” said Lisa Morris, VEC energy services planner.
VEC’s program follows Vermont’s 2015 Renewable Energy Standard, which requires electric utilities within the state to help customers shift their energy sources from fossil fuels to electricity or other non-fossil fuel sources.