Montpelier Finalizes District Heating Rates

By Alex Rose

Published 07/30 2014 10:07PM

Updated 07/30 2014 11:06PM

Montpelier, Vt.- "We're sort of putting downtown Montpelier on a wood stove," said Montpelier City Manager Bill Fraser.

And that was their vision, to bring buildings in Vermont's capital city sustainable energy.

“They're going to be spending less on heat then they were before, because this plan is so efficient," Fraser said.

On Wednesday, Fraser and the City Council set rates for the Montpelier District Heating System.

"You're paying a base rate to be on the system, and a fluctuating rate depending on how much you use,” Fraser said.

The rates Fraser is referring to are a capacity rate of $4.84 per MBTUH and an energy rate of $8.82 per MMBTU for the 2014-2015 heating season, which begins on October 1st.

They're actually a little less than what the state originally projected.

Organizers are using a British Thermal Unit as a measurement of energy.

One MMBTU is a million British Thermal Units.

Fraser says buying woodchips from all over New England, including Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Canada, is more consistent than importing oil.

"Wood does not have the same fluctuation up and down that oil has," Fraser said.

For the businesses and establishments who signed on board for the system, they saw that as an opportunity.

The business and property owners who signed on seemed to echo the same thing. When they were evaluating if they should join the Montpelier Heating District, they all want to save money for the long run.

"Initially it looks like we're going to save about eight thousand dollars a year on our heating costs, which for us is enormous," said Bethany Church Pastor Amy Pitton.

Pitton says churches are declining in membership nationwide across denominations, and changing to district heating does more than save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

"We're able to do something that helped the community at large by buying into this so that more people would be a part of it," Pitton said.

Here are the 19 units that are contracted with Montpelier District Heating:

City Hall, Fire Station, Police Station, Union Elementary School, Federal GSA Building, County Courthouse, Sheriff’s Office, Vermont Mutual, 52 State Street, 46 State Street, 27 State Street, 17 State Street, 118 Main Street (NECI Restaurant), City Center, Bethany Church, Christ Church, FairPoint on School Street, and the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.

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