Green Mountain Power

About 300 unionized workers and Green Mountain Power have reached a five-year labor agreement that brings all employees under one contract after the company's expansion following its merger with the Central Vermont Public Service Corp.

GMP said Tuesday the contract with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 300 brings all union employees together under a single contract.

Vermont's largest electric utility says snow stuck to turbine blades caused a roaring sound that drew noise complaints shortly after the Lowell Mountain turbines started operating.

At least 21 neighbors complained about the noise, which began on the morning of Nov. 3 and lasted into Nov. 4.

The neighbors complained to the Vermont Department of Public Service.

Green Mountain Power spokesman Robert Dostis says the excess noise was caused by the weather conditions.

WAMC

Vermont's Killington ski resort and Green Mountain Power are highlighting a project that is using cow manure to power one of the resort's lifts.

The Cow Power program enables customers to purchase all or part of their electricity at a premium and support Vermont's dairy farms.

The program works by collecting cow manure, mixing it with wash water from the milking equipment and then pumping that slurry into a digester where it is heated for three weeks. The process converts the manure into biogas that is 60 percent methane.

The Vermont Public Service Board has once again rejected arguments that ratepayers should get a $21 million refund when the state's two largest utilities merged.

Vermont Public Radio reports the board this week upheld a key provision of its June order that allowed Green Mountain Power to merge with Central Vermont Public Service Corporation.

The deal was panned by the consumer group AARP, which had raised an alarm over a payback provision for extra money CVPS customers were ordered to pay the company a decade ago to pull it back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Mountain Talk/Pat O'Neill

Vermont police say six protesters have been arrested at the site of the Lowell mountain wind-power project.

The activists say at least 45 individuals on Monday prevented construction workers and equipment from reaching the construction area along the top of the mountain.

The protesters believe the project is destroying a pristine ridgeline and has little environmental benefit.

The merger of Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service has become controversial due to how the merged company plans to refund $21 million owed to CVPS ratepayers.  The companies want to repay ratepayers through energy efficiency measures, but AARP-Vermont and others have been pushing for direct cash refunds. An amendment was presented in the Vermont House that would force the direct payments to customers.  The House Natural Resources and Energy and the Commerce and Economic Development committees took testimony Tuesday on the appropriateness of Legislative intervention.

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