– Home battery programs provide seamless backup power during outages and reduce costs for all GMP customers
– Access currently limited to 500 new customers per program, per year
– Powerwall program full until 2025 with growing waitlist
– Urgent need to expand access to cost-effective backup power as Vermont faces increasing number of damaging storms due to climate change
COLCHESTER, Vt. – Green Mountain Power (GMP) filed a request to lift the cap on its residential energy storage programs to expand customer access to cost-effective battery backup power, as Vermont experiences an increasing amount of damaging weather due to climate change. Currently, GMP’s Powerwall and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) battery backup programs are capped at 500 new customers per program, per year. The Powerwall program is full for 2023 and the waitlist for 2024 is also full, with 250 customers on a growing list for slots in 2025.
“The increasing pace of damaging storms means we must accelerate all of our work to boost resiliency for Vermonters, and that includes expanding access to home energy storage. These are flagship programs with our customers, and they provide a solution right now that keeps Vermonters powered up even when severe weather hits. Home energy storage provided 10,000 hours of backup power for customers in our programs this winter alone,” said Mari McClure, GMP president and CEO.
When severe storms hit, customers in GMP’s home energy programs experience a seamless switch to the battery power that keeps them comfortable at home while repairs are made to the grid. GMP customer Candace Nattie saw that firsthand when her neighbor in Norwich had power during a December Nor’easter, while she was in the dark.
“It was a whopper of a storm, and we were out for three days, the worst we’ve experienced in 40 years here. We joined the waitlist for the program when we learned the neighbors had power because of their batteries. They are a great, green alternative to a generator,” Nattie said. “We’re getting older and want to age in place, so having battery backup power will make a big difference.”
About 2,500 customers have more than 4,000 batteries in their homes through GMP programs. The batteries are part of GMP’s growing network of stored energy – more than 40 MW of stored energy in home batteries, utility scale batteries, and devices like car chargers – that GMP uses as a virtual power plant to reduce the need for more costly, sometimes dirtier, power from the regional grid during peak use times like heatwaves. This energy sharing partnership with participating customers has reduced power costs for all GMP customers by up to $3 million per year for the last few years.
“I love that through GMP’s program we are helping everyone and the grid during energy peaks, and we love our batteries,” said Nina Schwartz, a GMP customer from Thetford who’s been in the Powerwall program since 2019. “The December Nor’easter was a real test – power went out Friday night and came back on Sunday at noon and our household still functioned through that with heat, lights, and TV.”
Through GMP’s Powerwall program, customers lease 2 batteries from GMP for $55 per month or a one-time payment of $5,500 – both options reflect a significant savings because customers share energy during peak use times. In the BYOD program, customers purchase a battery from a company of their choosing and depending on the amount of energy they choose to share with GMP during peaks, they receive a rebate of up to $10,500. This is the largest energy storage incentive offered by a utility in the country. Batteries in both programs are installed by solar companies that the customer chooses.
“This program is very popular with our customers, and it’s been great for our business,” said Victoria Roberts, a founder of Southern Vermont Solar. “We are so excited to see this program expand so more Vermonters can take part in it.”
If GMP’s request to lift restrictions on customer access is approved, customers could begin enrolling starting in June, with actual battery installation times determined by the company they choose to work with and product availability. Expanding access to energy storage is part of GMP’s work to transform the grid and boost resiliency for Vermonters. Through GMP’s Climate Plan, which was approved in 2020, GMP is undergrounding lines in rural residential areas, and using storm-hardened construction techniques to help communities stay powered up in severe weather. GMP is also building Resiliency Zones in partnership with communities using a combination of distribution circuit microgrids that run on renewable power and utility scale batteries, and targeted installation of home batteries. Resiliency Zone towns are selected using outage statistics and CDC community vulnerability data.
GMP began offering home batteries to customers through pilot programs in 2017, as the first utility in the country to partner with Tesla. In 2020, GMP became the first utility in the country to earn regulatory approval to offer fully tariffed home energy programs after both the Powerwall and BYOD pilot programs consistently provided seamless backup power for participating customers, while also reducing costs for all GMP customers.
You can learn more about GMP’s home energy storage programs and custom battery incentives for business and municipal customers on GMP’s website www.greenmountainpower.com. Some customers with batteries through the Powerwall program also participate in GMP’s Frequency Regulation Market pilot program which networks the clean stored energy in Vermont homes and helps to keep the New England grid balanced – a critical safety function traditionally done by fossil fuel plants in the region.
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power serves more than 270,000 residential and business customers in Vermont with electricity that’s 100% carbon free and 78% renewable on an annual basis, and GMP is partnering with customers to improve lives and transform communities. GMP is providing solutions to cut carbon and is delivering electricity that is clean, affordable, and always on. GMP is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. In 2022, GMP was named to TIME’s list of the 100 Most Influential Companies. Fast Company named GMP one of the top five Most Innovative Companies in North America in 2022. GMP also earned a spot on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in the World list in the energy sector four years in a row, and in 2023 and 2021 the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) honored GMP as a nationwide leader in energy transformation.
Kristin Carlson, Green Mountain Power
The increasing pace of damaging storms means we must accelerate all of our work to boost resiliency for Vermonters, and that includes expanding access to home energy storage.Mari McClure, GMP president and CEO