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What's the local versus global debate about?

Rep. Nease wonders out loud (or at least in print) about the governor's veto of the global warming bill, writing Despite making past statements that praise Efficiency Vermont's role in saving Vermonters money on their electricity bills, they argued, as Rep. Komline does, that Vermonters are savvy enough to figure out how to weatherize their homes without the assistance of Efficiency Vermont.

If that was the case, why have so many Vermont residents and businesses such as IBM taken advantage of the services offered by Efficiency Vermont? Here's one possible answer to that question. Suppose I am planning to save energy and money by buying more energy efficient appliances, or buying a new more energy efficient machine for my factory. It's going to cost me $25,000 but to me it's worth it because it will save me $5,000 a year in energy costs (I'm making up these numbers). That's a 20 percent return on my investment, and the bottom line looks very good.

I find out about Efficiency Vermont and invite them in to take a look at my house or factory and tell them what I'm thinking about. They tell me they have a program that will pay for half the $25,000 cost. The bottom line looks even better. I give it about two seconds thought and agree to take advantage of their largess and do what I was going to do anyway. I save money and Efficiency Vermont claims they have helped save me $5,000 a year for only $12,500 investment on their part. A great return on their investment.

Or as Rep. Nease puts it, In fact, savvy businesses across the state have enlisted Efficiency Vermont to advise them on ways to make their businesses more electrically efficient. So have thrifty homeowners, who use Efficiency Vermont to find out where they are losing electricity as well as what actions to take to make their homes more efficient. In the process, those homeowners and businesses have documented hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings. Which is exactly what I just said. We just used different words.

Art Woolf
Vermont Tiger.com

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