Amid Rapid Growth At The Hermitage Club, A Question Of Who Pays For Power Infrastructure

Sep 18, 2015

An exclusive members-only ski resort in Wilmington has big plans for development.

In August The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain was named one of Inc. Magazine's fastest growing private companies in America with a three-year revenue increase of 733 percent.

The resort’s rapid growth is creating a demand for more power and raising questions about who pays for the new equipment needed to provide it.

It takes a lot of electricity to power that kind of growth, and to continue to meet the company's projected needs Green Mountain Power is seeking Public Service Board approval for a new substation in Wilmington.

According to papers filed with the board, The Hermitage Club will pay for some of the construction costs associated with the project. How much it will pay is still being disputed.

GMP’s Dorothy Schnure says the club should pay about $205,000 toward  the total $3.6 million project.

"We need to build the substation first of all for improved reliability in the area,” says Schnure, “but the Hermitage will be paying a portion of the cost of that substation because part of that additional size is being built to specifically serve them."

Chris Recchia, commissioner of the Public Service Department, says the department will have more questions for GMP about how much the Hermitage should be expected to pay for the substation.

To continue to meet the company's projected needs, Green Mountain Power is seeking Public Service Board approval for a new substation in Wilmington.
Credit Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR/file

"There's no standard formula associated with this, but we do try to make sure that the driver of the cost pays for the increase,” Recchia explains. “We're going to look at this and see whether Hermitage is paying their fair share of what they're causing to be the upgrade of the substation."

Recchia says GMP customers should not have to cover the costs associated with the Hermitage upgrades.

There are also environmental concerns.

"We're currently probing as to whether there's an alternate way that they can distribute that power that has less of an impact on natural resources such as stream buffers," says Billy Coster of the Agency of Natural Resources.

Dale Ribaudo, senior vice president at The Hermitage Club, says the company is counting on the infrastructure to support its plans.

A map shows the proposed hotel The Hermitage Club hopes to build next year, to the right of the lodge, as well as additional hotels to be built within five years, to the left.
Credit Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

"As we look to our expanded growth, which will be additional real estate development on the mountain, we will have a requirement for additional power here at the Hermitage Club. It's a vital component of our future development plans here at the club," he says.

The projected growth includes a 93-unit hotel, restaurant and parking garage, which was approved this month by the Wilmington Development Review Board, but still needs an Act 250 permit.

In May The Hermitage Club paid the state $205,000 and admitted to violating land use and environmental permitting laws.

The Hermitage is also expected to go before the Wilmington Development Review Board later this month for a plan to improve the airstrip at the Deerfield Valley Airport, which the company owns.