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Green Mountain Power, Efficiency Vermont and NeighborWorks of Western Vermont announce formal collaboration effort

Green Mountain Power, Efficiency Vermont and NeighborWorks of Western Vermont announced Friday, Dec. 7 that the three organizations have entered into an agreement that will help to drive the research and development of electrical and thermal energy efficiency programs for Vermonters as well as support the ongoing study and implementation of smart grid technology, renewable energy sources and new vehicular energy options.

"This partnership creates a great opportunity for developing new renewable energy and efficiency strategies and projects, which aligns very well with the state's long-term renewable energy supply goals," said Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.
Under the agreement, GMP, Efficiency Vermont and the NeighborWorks HEAT Squad will work together in an effort to develop innovative programs focused on energy efficiency, customer service options, smart grid technology and renewable energy, among other initiatives.

"We're all very excited to begin collaborating and leveraging our shared resources as we work to help Vermonters achieve greater electrical and thermal energy efficiency," said GMP President and CEO Mary Powell.

NeighborWorks is a not for profit housing organization that provides home buying, home improvement and maintenance guidance since 1986.  In recent years, NeighborWorks has provided customer services and access to financing options for thermal efficiency improvements to Vermont residents through its program known as the HEAT Squad with funds provided by the Department of Energy's BetterBuildings program and support from Efficiency Vermont.

NeighborWorks Executive Director Ludy Biddle said the joint venture will directly benefit Vermont residents by helping them to understand and take advantage of a variety of current energy efficiency opportunities.

"Forming this partnership will allow each organization to bring its own unique set of skills and experiences to the table and facilitate strong teamwork on programs, offerings and education for Vermonters that will help them to save money," said NeighborWorks Executive Director Ludy Biddle.

Efficiency Vermont (www.efficiencyvermont.com), created in 2000, is the nation's first statewide "energy efficiency utility," and provides comprehensive energy efficiency services to business and residential customers throughout Vermont. It was created by the Vermont Legislature and the Vermont Public Service Board to help all Vermonters reduce energy costs, strengthen the economy, and protect Vermont's environment.

Efficiency Vermont Director Jim Merriam said the partnership is an innovative approach that will create a working laboratory for finding solutions to energy issues for Vermonters.

"The opportunity for our three organizations to work together on a daily basis to develop innovative programs and services is unique," Merriam said. "Vermont has proven through successful collaborations in areas such as our statewide approach to smart grid that we know how to create tangible, positive results for Vermonters through these partnerships."

Each organization has also agreed to co-locate staff at GMP's new Energy Innovation Center in Rutland in order to allow for optimal communication and collaboration.

"Having employees from all three organizations together in a single setting, focused on a common goal of meeting customers' dynamic energy needs creates the ultimate environment for making progress," said Steve Costello, GMP's vice president for generation and energy innovation.  "We think this partnership will really bolster all of the EIC's core focuses and benefit Vermonters for many years to come."

The three organizations will focus heavily on public education efforts surrounding energy use and efficiency strategies.
"One of the initial goals of this endeavor is to conduct a door-to-door outreach effort to widely promote the existing electric and thermal efficiency programs currently offered by Efficiency Vermont and the NeighborWorks HEAT Squad," Costello said. "The pilot program will start in Rutland City and hopefully serve as a model to be used across the state in the future.  This is just one example of the various educational initiatives that we'll be working on together that we believe will help customers to get the most out of their electrical usage."