Announcements

 

 

Vermont Yankee Decommissioning and Stakeholder Engagement: Assessment Findings and Recommendations

The Consensus Building Institute (CBI) and the Social and Environmental Research Institute (SERI) contracted with the Vermont Public Service Department to conduct a situation assessment around the closure and decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. We spoke to 26 individuals who have been engaged in some way on the operation and closure of Vermont Yankee and provided a range of perspectives. Based on information collected through these interviews and our research and experience, CBI and SERI offer recommendations on the structure and ingredients of a robust public and stakeholder engagement process to support well-­informed and well-­supported decisions throughout the decommissioning and site restoration process.

The report can be read read here - Assessment Findings and Recommendations .

 

Vermont Public Service Department Announces Inaugural Meeting of Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel

Montpelier, Vermont – The Public Service Department announced on September 17, 2014 that the inaugural meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (NDCAP), created by the legislature in Act 179 to succeed the Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel, will be held on September 25, 2014, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, in the multi-purpose room at Brattleboro Union High School, 131 Fairground Road in Brattleboro. The agenda for the September 25 meeting includes a discussion of the mission of NDCAP; an overview of the Settlement Agreement reached between the State of Vermont and Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee (ENVY) in December 2013; and Vermont Yankee decommissioning and stakeholder assessment findings. In addition, ENVY will present a summary of current decommissioning activities at Vermont Yankee.  The meeting will be recorded by Brattleboro Cable Access Television (BCTV) who will upload the recording to the Vermont Media Exchange for distribution to all other Vermont public access stations.

 

The agenda for the meeting can be found here - AGENDA .

 

All meetings of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel are open to the public.

Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel statute (appointees IN BOLD)

18 V.S.A. Chapter 34 is amended by Act 179 of the 2014 Adjourned Session to read:

 

CHAPTER 34. NUCLEAR DECOMMISSIONING CITIZENS ADVISORY PANEL

 

§ 1700. CREATION; MEMBERSHIP; OFFICERS; QUORUM

 

    (a) There is created a Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel which shall consist of the following:

 

(1) the Secretary of Human Services, ex officio, or designee; DR. WILLIAM IRWIN

 

(2) the Secretary of Natural Resources, ex officio, or designee; COMMISSIONER DAVID MEARS

 

(3) the Commissioner of Public Service, ex officio, or designee; COMMISSIONER CHRISTOPHER RECCHIA

 

(4) the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development, ex officio, or designee; SECRETARY PAT MOULTON

 

(5) one member of the House Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, chosen by the Speaker of the House; REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL HEBERT

 

(6) one member of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, chosen by the Committee on Committees; SENATOR MARK MACDONALD

 

(7) one representative of the Windham Regional Commission or designee, selected by the Regional Commission; EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CHRIS CAMPANY

 

(8) one representative of the Town of Vernon or designee, selected by the legislative body of that town; STEPHEN SKIBNIOWSKY

 

(9) six members of the public, two each selected by the Governor, the Speaker of the House, and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Under this subdivision, each appointing authority initially shall appoint a member for a three-year term and a member for a four-year term. Subsequent appointments under this subdivision shall be for terms of four years; KATE O'CONNOR (4), MARTIN LANGEVELD (3), JIM MATTEAU (4), JIM TONKOVICH (3), DAVID DEEN (4), DERRIK JORDAN (3)

 

(10) two representatives of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station (VYNPS or Station) selected by the owner of the Station; CHRISTOPHER J. WAMSER, SITE VICE-PRESIDENT AND T. MICHAEL TWOMEY, VICE-PRESIDENT EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, ENVY

 

(11) a representative of the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW) selected by the IBEW who shall be a present or former employee at the VYNPS; DAVID ANDREWS

 

(12) one member who will represent collectively the Towns of Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Richmond, Swanzey, and Winchester, New Hampshire, when selected by the Governor of New Hampshire at the invitation of the Commissioner of Public Service; SENATOR MOLLY KELLY, KEENE, NH and

 

(13) one member who will represent collectively the Towns of Bernardston, Colrain, Gill, Greenfield, Leyden, Northfield, and Warwick, Massachusetts, when selected by the Governor of Massachusetts at the invitation of the Commissioner of Public Service; REPRESENTATIVE PAUL W. MARK, PERU, MA

 

    (b) Ex officio members shall serve for the duration of their time in office or until a successor has been appointed. Members of the General Assembly shall be appointed for two years or until their successors are appointed, beginning on or before January 15 in the first year of the biennium. Representatives designated by ex officio members shall serve at the direction of the designating authority.

 

    (c) The Commissioner of Public Service shall serve as the Chair until the Panel elects a Chair or Co-Chairs under subsection (d) of this section.

 

    (d) The Panel annually shall elect a Chair or Co-Chairs, and a Vice Chair, for one-year terms commencing with its first meeting following the effective date of this section.

 

   (e) A majority of the Panel’s members shall constitute a quorum. The Panel shall act only by vote of a majority of its entire membership and only at meetings called by the Chair or a Co-Chair or by any five of the members. The person or persons calling the meeting shall provide adequate notice to all its members.

 

   (f) Members of the panel who are not ex officio members, employees of the State of Vermont, representatives of the VYNPS, or members representing towns outside Vermont, and who are not otherwise compensated or reimbursed for their attendance shall be entitled to $50.00 per diem and their necessary and actual expenses. Funds for this purpose shall come from the monies collected under 30 V.S.A. § 22 for the purpose of maintaining the Department of Public Service. Legislative members shall not be entitled to a per diem under this section for meetings while the General Assembly is in session.

 

  (g) The Commissioner of Public Service shall:

 

(1) manage the provision of administrative support to the Panel, including scheduling meetings and securing meeting locations, providing public notice of meetings, producing minutes of meetings, and assisting in the compilation and production of the Panel’s annual report described in section 1701 of this title;

 

(2) keep the Panel informed of the status of matters within the jurisdiction of the Panel;

 

(3) notify members of the Panel in a timely manner upon receipt of information relating to matters within the jurisdiction of the Panel;

 

(4) upon request, provide to all members of the Panel all relevant information within the control of the Department of Public Service relating to subjects within the scope of the duties of the Panel;

 

(5) provide workshops or training for Panel members as may be appropriate; and

 

(6) hire experts, contract for services, and provide for materials and other reasonable and necessary expenses of the Panel as the Commissioner may consider appropriate on request of the Panel from time to time. Funds for this purpose shall come from the monies collected under 30 V.S.A. § 22 for the purpose of maintaining the Department of Public Service and such other sources as may be or become available.

 

 

§ 1701. DUTIES

 

     The Panel shall serve in an advisory capacity only and shall not have authority to direct decommissioning of the VYNPS. The duties of the Panel shall be:

 

(1) To hold a minimum of four public meetings each year for the purpose of discussing issues relating to the decommissioning of the VYNPS. The Panel may hold additional meetings.

 

(2) To advise the Governor, the General Assembly, the agencies of the State, and the public on issues related to the decommissioning of the VYNPS, with a written report being provided annually to the Governor and to the energy committees of the General Assembly. The provisions of 2 V.S.A. § 20(d) (expiration of reports) shall not apply to this report.

 

(3) To serve as a conduit for public information and education on and to encourage community involvement in matters related to the decommissioning of the VYNPS and to receive written reports and presentations on the decommissioning of the Station at its regular meetings.

 

4) To periodically receive reports on the Decommissioning Trust Fund and other funds associated with decommissioning of or site restoration at the VYNPS, including fund balances, expenditures made, and reimbursements received.

 

(5) To receive reports regarding the decommissioning plans for the VYNPS, including any site assessments and post-shutdown decommissioning assessment reports; provide a forum for receiving public comment on these plans and reports; and to provide comment on these plans and reports as the Panel may consider appropriate to State agencies and the owner of the VYNPS and in the annual report described in subdivision (2) of this section.

 

 

§1702. ASSISTANCE                                                                                                                 

 

    The Department of Public Service, the Agency of Human Services, and the Agency of Natural Resources shall furnish administrative support to the Panel, with assistance from the owners of the VYNPS as the Commissioner of Public Service may consider appropriate.

 

 

***

 

In Session Law

 

DECOMMISSIONING ADVISORY PANEL; ASSESSMENT OF CHARGE

 

    (a) After providing an opportunity for public comment, the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel created under 18 V.S.A. chapter 34 shall assess whether further changes to the Panel’s membership or duties as amended by this act are appropriate and shall include recommendations on such further changes in the annual report to the Governor and energy committees of the General Assembly under 18 V.S.A. § 1701(2) to be filed on or before January 15, 2015.

Comcast Internet Essentials Program

Notice to Comcast Customers: 

As a way to celebrate the beginning of the school year, Comcast is offering six months of free internet service to eligible low-income families that have not previously signed up for the company's discounted Internet Essentials service (normally $9.95 per month, plus tax), if they sign up by September 20, 2014

Families with a school-age child eligible for federal school-lunch subsidies are able to participate in Internet Essentials. This program includes discounted Internet access service, as well as the offer of an Internet-ready computer for less than $150 and various print, online, and in-person digital literacy training options. Contact Comcast at 1-855-846-8376 or 1-800-266-2278 for more information.
 

2014 Vermont Telecommunications Plan Public Comments Draft

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE ISSSUES PUBLIC COMMENTS DRAFT OF THE 2014 VERMONT TELECOMMUNICATIONS PLAN & INVITES PUBLIC COMMENT

Montpelier—The Department of Public Service, in conjunction with the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Department of Information and Innovation, is pleased to announce the release of the 2014 Telecommunications Plan public comments draft. The Plan addresses the major ongoing developments in the telecommunications industry, including broadband infrastructure development, regulatory policy and recommendations for future action.

“This plan provides Vermont residents, businesses, and policy leaders with an objective assessment of how far we’ve come in the last 10 years, our successes, as well as our vision for the next ten years,” said Public Service Commissioner Christopher Recchia. “The Plan also discusses the telecommunications challenges facing Vermont, as well as realistic and attainable solutions to those challenges,” he added. Highlights of the Plan include an overview of the state’s existing broadband infrastructure and strategies for increasing speeds and affordability of broadband service.

The Department will hold three public hearings on the public comments draft of the Plan prior to adopting the final Plan. The hearings will be held as follows:

  • Holiday Inn, Oak Room, 1068 Williston Road, Burlington, Vermont on Monday, August 25, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.;
  • Hampton Inn, 1378 Putney Road, Brattleboro, Vermont, on Tuesday, August 26, 2014, at 7:00 p.m.;
  • Alumni Hall, 16 Auditorium Hill Road, Barre, Vermont on Wednesday, August 27, 2014, at 7:00 p.m;
  • Hampton Inn, 47 Farrell Road, Rutland, Vermont on Thursday August 28, 2014, at 7:00 p.m.;
  • Catamount Arts Center, 115 Eastern Avenue, St. Johnsbury, Vermont, September 4, 2014, at 7:00 p.m.;
  • Middle Branch Grange, 78 Store Hill Road, East Bethel, Vermont, September 18, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.;
  • Barrett Hall, Justin Morrill Memorial Highway, Strafford, Vermont, September 18, 2014, at 6:00 p.m.

Copies of the draft plan and information about the comment period may be obtained from the Department of Public Service by visiting http://publicservice.vermont.gov/publications or by calling (802) 828-4003. Copies may also be requested by email sent to psd.telecom@state.vt.us, or by writing to the Department of Public Service, 112 State Street, Drawer 20, Montpelier, VT 05620.  We welcome and encourage commentary on the Plan.  Comments may be submitted either electronically or by mail to the address above.

 

Proposed Changes to Vermont Yankee’s Site Emergency Plan

Entergy has proposed changes to its Site Emergency Plan at Vermont Yankee in Vernon, Vermont. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission must approve of these changes and is seeking comments on the proposal before making a ruling.

 

For information regarding the proposed changes to Vermont Yankee’s Site Emergency Plan, please click on the link to the Federal Register Notice of Consideration: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/07/22/2014-17257/biweekly-notice-applications-and-amendments-to-facility-operating-licenses-and-combined-licenses#h-20  

            

Instructions for submitting comments are at the top of the link page. Alternatively, comments may be mailed to:  Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: 3WFN-06-A44M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

 

Comments must be filed by August 21, 2014.  A request for a hearing must be filed by September 22, 2014. 

 

Although the State of Vermont does not have jurisdiction over Vermont Yankee's Site Emergency Plan, the Department of Public Service and other state agencies intend to file comments with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding this matter.

 

The full text of Vermont Yankee's license amendment request is available at:  http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1408/ML14085A257.pdf

2014 Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report

The 2014 Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report Released by Governor Shumlin

Joined by Public Service Department Commissioner Christopher Recchia, the Governor released the 2014 Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report, the first effort in the state to survey and describe the status and characteristics of Vermont’s clean energy industry.

CEDF FY 2015 Annual Program Plan and Allocations

June 13, 2014 -- Request for Public Comment on the FY 2015 Annual Program Plan and Allocations

  • The Clean Energy Development Fund released for public comment its Annual Program Plan and Budget Allocations for the 2015 fiscal year.  Included in the Plan are changes to the existing Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program.

    Comments received by July 14, 2014 at 8:00 AM were given to the members of the Clean Energy Development Board for their consideration.  ComThe Clean Energy Development Board will vote on a final Plan and Budget Allocations for FY 2015 on July 25th, 2014.

Telecommunications Plan Hearing Video and Transcript

On February 21, 2014, the Department of Public Service held a hearing to gain public input on telecommunications issues facing Vermont in anticipation of releasing the 2014 Telecommunications Plan. To view a video of the event or read the transcript, please click here.

VEC reports telephone scam

Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) officials are warning members about a phone scam targeting utility consumers that aims to collect credit card information. Under the current scam, consumers have been contacted by callers that claim to be representing VEC and demand credit card information from consumers to pay their account balance or face immediate disconnection. This is fraudulent and inaccurate.

VEC follows Vermont Public Service Board rules when working with members on past due bills and pending disconnections. VEC does contact members by phone in order to agree upon a payment plan but does not require payment in full. Additionally, VEC offers alternative options for how the payment can be made to the utility.

Anyone receiving a suspicious call should remember not to give out personal information, including account or credit card numbers. To verify the authenticity of anyone claiming to be a representative of Vermont Electric Cooperative and requesting credit card information, members should call the utility at 1-800-832-2667.

At least some of the fraudulent calls have come from the phone number 866-978-6955, extension 2235. These calls have been reported to local police and are being investigated. Please contact VEC or the Vermont Department of Public Service with any questions or concerns. You may reach the Consumer Affairs Division of the Department of Public Service at 1-800-622-4496. Members may also choose to report these calls to the Vermont State Police.
 

Vermont USF High-Cost Phase III report

Act 169, as it amends 30 V.S.A. § 7515(b)(8), requires a series of reports related to the Vermont Universal Service Fund. The Public Service Department contracted with the consultant RLSA to prepare these reports. Volume III of the Universal Service Fund Report, entitled "Universal Service Goals and Policy Options," fulfills the Department's obligations under 30 V.S.A. $ 7515 (b). The purpose of this report is to inform the Legislature about various universal service considerations as committees take up the subject of universal service reform. The Department notes that the views, opinions, and recommendations contained within this report are strictly those of the authors, and do not represent the position or preferred policy direction of the Department.

 

Vermont USF Phase III report

Vermont USF study released

Act 169, as it amends 30 V.S.A. § 7515(b)(8), requires a series of reports related to the Vermont Universal Service Fund. The Public Service Department contracted with the consultant RLSA to prepare a report on the costs and profibitablity of Vermont Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers.

Costs and Profitibility Report

Settlement Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding signed on December 23, 2013, between the State of Vermont and Entergy Vermont Yankee

Please find attached two documents that describe the Settlement Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding signed on December 23, 2013, between the State of Vermont and Entergy Vermont Yankee.

VY_Settlement_Agreement_131223

Docket_7862_MOU

High Cost Study - VUSF Audit Report

As directed by Act 169, as it added subsection 30 V.S.A. § 7515(b)(8), the PSD released the VUSF Audit Report portion of its High Cost Study, titled QSI VUSF Audit Report: Assessment of the Vermont Universal Service Fund, on May 3, 2013.  The Department, in conjunction with the Public Service Board, contracted the firm QSI Consulting, Inc. (“QSI”) to conduct the audit and prepare a report on the Vermont Universal Service Fund ("VUSF").  QSI's audit report details the management audit performed by QSI to: (1) analyze the Fiscal Agent's administration practices; (2) examine telecommunications service provider practices of collecting VUSF surcharges from their retail telecommunications customers; (3) test the accuracy of VUSF surcharge remittances made by telecommunications service providers to the Fiscal Agent and the Fiscal Agent's accounting of those remittances; and (4) review the Fiscal Agent's practices and procedures involving the disbursement of VUSF monies to the authorized programs funded by the VUSF.

High Cost Study - FCC Impact Report

As directed by Act 169, as it amends 30 V.S.A. § 7515(b)(6), the PSD released the FCC Impact Report portion of its High Cost Study, titled Revenue Effects of FCC Reforms to Intercarrier Compensation and Federal Universal Service Mechanisms, on February 19, 2013.  The Department, in conjunction with the Public Service Board (“Board”), contracted the consulting firm Rolka Loube Saltzer Associates (“RLSA”) to conduct this FCC impact study as the first of a three part study into whether high cost services should be supported through the Vermont Universal Service Fund (“VUSF”).  This report concludes that while FCC actions will have an impact on ILEC revenues, until the regulated and non-regulated revenues are studied in further reports, due to be submitted to the legislature in March and April, respectively, the Department cannot make a recommendation regarding the activation of high cost voice support at this time.

Prepaid Wireless VUSF Report

As directed by Act 169, Section 4, the PSD released its prepaid wireless VUSF report, titled Analysis and Recommendations Regarding the Application of the State's Universal Service Charge to Prepaid Wireless Telecommunications Services, on February 7, 2013.  To develop the report, the PSD, in consultation with the Department of Taxes, convened a working group to consider how and whether to implement VUSF charges for prepaid wireless services.  Included in the report are two alternatives for draft legislation.

2012 Vermont Telecom Survey Report

On February 7, 2013, the Public Service Department released the 2012 Vermont Telecommunications Survey Report.  ICF International conducted the survey on the behalf of the Department from July through September 2012.

Vermont Smart Meter Measurement Report

As directed by Act 170, the PSD released the Vermont smart meter measurement report, titled An Evaluation of Radio Frequency Fields Produced by Smart Meters Deployed in Vermont, on January 23, 2013.  The full report is now available as a single PDF document.