McClaughry: Return of the thermal utility – a tax on electricity

By John McClaughry

A push is on in Montpelier to create the thermal utility so long sought by VPIRG. Unlike the version of 13 years ago, this version doesn’t set up a new, special utility to absorb government money and spend it on improvements in some peoples’ transportation and housing. This time it’s expanding the mandate of Efficiency Vermont, financed by your electricity payment, that since 2000 has subsidized home energy efficiency.

Four years ago I said this about that idea: “[Republican] “Gov. Douglas vetoed a “thermal utility” in 2007 but Gov. Shumlin re-launched the idea in 2012. Small pieces of that bill were enacted, but not the big taxing and spending parts of it.”

“Under this year’s version, electric ratepayers will be taxed indefinitely to support not only electrical efficiency, but also thermal and transportation efficiency. Its backers say “Vermonters will benefit,” by which they mean the Vermonters who pocket the program benefits, not the Vermonters who pay for them through their electric bills. This is just one more surreptitious way to transfer money from the pockets of ordinary Vermonters into the much smaller class of efficiency program winners, most of whom ought to be paying for their own energy savings out of their own savings.”

Look, I’m all for improving energy efficiency in housing, electricity usage, and transportation. You’ll save money. So use your savings to pay for the efficiency, not my power bill.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Flickr/

2 thoughts on “McClaughry: Return of the thermal utility – a tax on electricity

  1. How much did VPIRG and Green Mountain Power spend to lobby to become the collectors, AND DISPENSERS of real money for favored sugar coated lacey projects?

    Why must the money come from all – poor and rich, and go to other people with the greedy fingers, unwilling to pay their own money for the toys they want.

    Why should the person who can’t afford a car, be required to buy a $50,000 car for someone they will never meet??

  2. As they used to say in the Navy, “if it doesn’t move, paint it.” In Montpelier they say, “if we can get away with it, TAX IT!!!”

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