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Regulators To Review GMP's Heat Pump Programs

Regulators have decided to take a close look at three of Green Mountain Power's newest programs to see how much value they bring to customers.

The programs are the cold climate heat pumps, heat pump water heaters and the ConnectDER program designed to make solar power feed into the power grid more efficiently.

The Department of Public Service is responsible for looking out for the general public on utility issues.

The department requested a thorough evaluation of the programs because they've now completed an 18-month pilot period. That pilot process is a regulatory framework designed to foster innovation in statewide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and use more renewable energy.

Public Service Commissioner Chris Recchia said the request wasn't based on any specific concerns about the programs, “but because we want to vet ... what have been the costs, what are the benefits, and to give parties and the public an opportunity to see those before they become part of the program.”

The assessment comes as regulators at the Public Service Board evaluate Green Mountain Power's rates for next year. The board, according to its decision Tuesday, will take a close look at the new programs before deciding how they should fit into customer rates.

Green Mountain Power spokeswoman Kristin Carlson says the company welcomes further scrutiny of the programs.

“We think it's great to have this conversation and the more people who learn about these programs we think they're going to be just as excited as the customers who have already signed up for them,” she said.

The company’s rollout of Tesla home batteries is also in an 18-month pilot, but that has not yet expired.