Washington Electric Co-op (WEC)’s Button Up program is increasing cash incentives for WEC members investing in energy-efficient weatherization, heating and transportation purchases. In 2018, WEC is expanding its program to offer incentives for all-electric and hybrid electric vehicles to moderate- and low-income members.

The Button Up program grew out of Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standard, which requires electric utilities to support customers in moving off of fossil fuels to reach the state’s goal of using 90% renewable energy in all areas by 2050. “Since WEC’s power portfolio is already 100% renewable, we are eager to do what we can to help our members move away from fossil fuel use in heating and transportation,” said WEC General Manager Patty Richards.

2018 marks the first year WEC has offered Button Up incentives for all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The electric vehicle (EV) cash incentives come from remaining funds from a grant from the Vermont Low-Income Trust for Energy (VLITE). VLITE’s grant helped WEC install five Level II EV charging stations at strategic locations in its service territory. With leftover grant monies, the Co-op can support more rural Vermonters interested in transitioning to an EV from a conventional gas-powered car.

Moderate- and low-income WEC members may receive $1,900 for purchasing an EV. Richards said that since EV technology has improved so rapidly, and since WEC’s new charging stations create an infrastructure that makes EV use more practical, many members have expressed interest in these cars.

Other Button Up incentives for weatherization and energy-efficient heating jump in 2018. Members may claim $2,000 toward home weatherization, up to $1,000 toward cold climate heat pumps, $850 for heat pump water heaters, $1,450 for solar hot water heaters, and $3,000 for pellet boilers.

“While a pellet boiler or a heat pump is no small investment, WEC’s Button Up incentives, in addition to those from Efficiency Vermont, can take a big bite out of the initial cost,” Richards pointed out. “All the systems we endorse are energy

efficient. We want to keep our members’ costs as low as possible up front and later on their bills. Plus, members can see a gas or oil bill disappear completely.”

WEC offers incentives on a first-come, first-served basis until its budget has been reached. Members are encouraged to call WEC for a free evaluation to determine the technologies that will serve them best. “One thing WEC will always do is assess our members’ needs responsibly. For example, we do not recommend a new heat pump if the house is not weatherized to retain that heat. We look out for every one of our members in that way,” said Richards.

Washington Electric Co-op is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric utility founded in 1939. WEC serves approximately 10,800 member-owners in 41 towns throughout Washington, Orange, Caledonia and Orleans counties with power generated from 100% renewable sources. For more information please visit washingtonelectric.coop or call 802-223-5245.

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