About the VSPC
The Vermont System Planning Committee – VSPC – is a collaborative process, established in 2007, for addressing electric grid reliability planning . Its purpose is to ensure all options to solve grid reliability issues get full, fair and timely consideration, and the most cost effective solution gets chosen, whether it is a poles-and-wires upgrade, energy efficiency, demand response, generation, or a hybrid.
The VSPC process provides transparency, public involvement and collaboration to grid planning
- A transparent reliability planning process through public meetings and this website.
- Public involvement in planning through the appointment of four public members by the Public Utility Commission. Public members represent residential customers, commercial customers, an environmental organization and generation developers.
- A high level of public involvement in the planning process based on recognized principles for effective public engagement.
- A long-term planning horizon of 20 years.
- Advisory votes regarding which utilities are responsible for projects and how costs are allocated for non-transmission alternatives.
- Procedures for facilitating assignment of responsibility for planning and implementation work.
- A prescribed process for identifying grid reliability issues and evaluating the potential to solve them with non-poles-and-wires solutions, such as distributed generation, energy efficiency and demand response.
- Collaboration among energy stakeholders, including all utilities, public representatives, the Public Service Department, the Energy Efficiency Utilities (EEU), and the Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) Facilitator.
The VSPC is the outgrowth of VELCO’s Northwest Reliability Project, which was permitted in 2005. The 63-mile upgrade was the first major project undertaken on Vermont’s transmission system for 30 years. In granting its permit, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) concluded that the line was needed, but that, with earlier planning, the reliability problems in question might have been addressed with less costly, non-transmission solutions.
The PUC opened a new proceeding, called Docket 7081, to hammer out a planning process that would ensure “full, fair and timely consideration of cost-effective non-transmission alternatives.” The Legislature also enacted changes to Vermont law requiring VELCO to produce a long-range transmission plan and update it every three years.
Following two years of negotiation, most of the parties in Docket 7081 signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing the VSPC as the forum for addressing the PUC's mandate. Read more about the VSPC’s history.
The basis for the VSPC process and Vermont’s approach to transmission planning can be found in Vermont law, PUC orders, and documents that have been created by the VSPC itself. Read more about the governing law, orders and implementing documents, in Key Documents.
The members of the VSPC include: representatives of each Vermont electric distribution; VELCO as the owner and operator of Vermont’s high-voltage transmission system; the two energy efficiency utilities; a generation developer representative; and three public member representing the interests of residential consumers, commercial and industrial consumers, and environmental protection respectively. In addition three non-voting members participate in the VSPC, including Vermont's Energy Efficiency Utility, the Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development Facilitator, and the Vermont Department of Public Service. Read more »