Sue Minter: Vermont now has the second-lowest overall electric rates in New England, which is important as we compete for jobs with our neighbors. However, I know we can continue to improve upon our competitive position in the region, and I know that even modest rate increases in gas or electric service can be very challenging for Vermont's families, our seniors, and our businesses. My administration will strengthen the existing Public Advocate office and work with the Department of Public Service, the Public Service Board and stakeholders to ensure Vermonters are paying fair electric and natural gas rates.
Phil Scott: The Department of Public Service must act as an advocate for ratepayers, including residential customers. There is clearly room for improvement in advocating for residential customers and I will make sure my Commissioner is a strong voice for all consumers.
Patrick Leahy: Human-caused climate change is accelerating with each passing year to devastating effects on our natural resources and our global economy. We must act to mitigate any further damage by aggressively moving toward clean energy sources and cutting our carbon emissions. I was proud to support President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which set the first ever carbon pollution standards for power plants, our nation's largest stationary source of greenhouse gas emissions. But more needs to be done. We cannot allow climate deniers to continue to risk the futures of our children and our grandchildren. Addressing the devastating effects of human-caused climate change, which is accelerating each year. We must do everything we can to protect our environment, especially Lake Champlain, the Green Mountain National Forest and Vermont's other environmental treasures.
Phil Scott: Securing our energy future requires us to be more self sufficient, and in order to do so we must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. I am proud of Vermont's forward-thinking efforts to combat climate change, and we should explore purchasing "green" power from reliable, affordable sources, including solar, hydro, and natural gas, among others. As we've seen with the solar industry, when government acts as a partner and incentivizes growth, the sector flourishes & creates jobs. In addition, the independence gained by weaning ourselves off of non-renewable power sources will further preserve our state's natural environment for future generations. Fundamentally, we need to recognize that growing our economy and preserving our environment by making smart energy choices are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they are inextricably linked. A strong economy needs to rely on a sustainable energy policy, and vice-versa.
"This bill directs weatherization to the lowest-income homes that are the least energy efficient. Over time, this will allow us to distribute LIHEAP fuel aid more efficiently," said Speaker Shap Smith. "In our cold state we must keep Vermonters warm, spend less, and improve energy efficiency. This bill moves us in that direction."
The House hopes these measures will be bolstered next year with more funding and that together they will help meet a statutory goal of weatherizing 80,000 housing units by 2020.
"Asserting our independence and self-reliance, taking responsibility for our future energy needs and revitalizing the state's economy and business climate are the principal themes of my candidacy," Scott said. "I see the renewable energy sector as offering a lot of potential to help us accomplish all of these goals, and these conferences provide an invaluable exchange of ideas and information between entrepreneurs, scientists, consumers and state leaders."
The Renewable Energy Future Conference is designed for members of the general public looking for renewable energy options for home or business and for those working in the renewable energy and general energy sector.
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