Taxpayer funds going to VELCO

RUTLAND - Gov. Jim Douglas welcomed the news last week that Vermont's electric utilities will receive $68,928,650 in competitive federal stimulus funds to deploy Smart Grid technology including advanced metering and grid automation technologies statewide.

Four-hundred applications totaling $17 billion were submitted nationally. Vermont's coordinated statewide application was one of 100 that were funded and constitutes roughly 2 percent of the total $3.4 billion awarded. The grant from the Department of Energy, announced today, will cover half the costs of almost $138 million in planned improvements by utilities across Vermont.

The successful application was a joint effort by all Vermont utilities, the Department of Public Service, the Office of Economic Stimulus and Recovery, and Vermont's congressional delegation. The statewide grant application, known as eEnergy Vermont, was filed on behalf of all of Vermont's electric distribution utilities, Efficiency Vermont and Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO), the state's transmission utility, which worked together on the project along with the Vermont Office of Economic Stimulus and Recovery, the Vermont Department of Public Service, and Vermont's congressional offices. VELCO was the lead applicant

In Vermont, smart grid projects will include a statewide fiber optic build-out by VELCO that enhances Vermont's grid, improves interconnections with surrounding states and Quebec, and facilitates statewide broadband.

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