In 2009, the Department of
Energy awarded Vermont $69 million in stimulus funds for the
implementation of a statewide smart grid. The project will cost an
estimated $138 million; Vermont
utility companies are paying for the other half. The goal is that, by the end
of 2013, nearly every home and business in Vermont will have a smart meter installed – which will let
consumers (and utility companies) monitor their power usage on a daily basis. With
a smart meter, consumers will be able to tell how much power they used doing
laundry, or cooking dinner, rather than just finding out how much they used per
month, in a bill.
We talk to Elizabeth Miller, commissioner of the Department
of Public Service, and Paul Hines, a professor of electrical engineering at the
University of Vermont whose research focuses on the stability and vulnerability of the
electric grid, about how far along smart grid implementation is, and what
effect it will have on consumers, businesses and greenhouse gas emissions. We’ll also hear from Chris Dutton, President and CEO of Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO).
Also on the program, Vergennes voters’ rejected a school board unification plan
that had been approved by five Addison County towns at Town Meeting. We talk with Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca about the
significance of the vote, and where other districts stand in discussions
on school board consolidation.