Why the Change?
Connecting to a better energy future for Vermont.
The nation’s electric grid is an engineering marvel. It uses simple physics – electricity will run through the path of least resistance – to move energy over a vast and complicated series of wires. As the population increases and we incorporate more and more electronic devices into our lives – computers, high-definition TVs, cell phones, and electric cars – the demands on the grid will only continue to increase. GMP Smart Power will help us manage these rapid changes more intelligently and efficiently than ever.
The grid we use today is 99.97% reliable, and very efficient. GMP Smart Power is an upgrade to that grid, to increase the efficiency and reliability of the grid even more. These upgrades help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and our dependence on fossil fuels. They also allow us to incorporate renewable sources of energy into our mix more efficiently. Any way you look at it, it’s a win-win situation for you, for us, and for the planet.
The Time Is Right
For several years, Vermont’s utilities have been planning smart-grid system improvements. The pace at which these upgrades took place changed in 2009, with the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This bill established a $3.4 billion grant pool to accelerate the adoption of smart-grid technologies throughout the country. Of that $3.4 billion, Vermont utilities were awarded about $69 million to cover half of the costs related to updating the power grid, spread over three years, ending in 2013. These updates established the foundation for the fully integrated GMP Smart Power system.
The cost of implementing GMP Smart Power is not expected to have a noticeable effect on our rates. Cumulative rate increases related to the project are expected to be less than 1% over the first five years. Due to operation and maintenance savings that GMP Smart Power makes possible, our rates are projected to be lower than they otherwise would have been over the life of the project.