Department of Public Service

A tree downed on a powerline in Monkton, Vermont. Thousands of homes and buisnesses have been without power since wind storms hit the region on Sunday.
Jane Lindholm / VPR

Every year, electric utilities clear trees and vegetation around power lines. With several thousand homes and business in Vermont still without power after Sunday's windstorm, could more clearing prevented these lengthy outages?

The Public Utility Commission will investigate the business practices of a national solar energy company that opened its Vermont office in 2015.

Melody Bodette / VPR

The Department of Public Service has rejected New Haven's energy plan.

A consultant hired by the state says the majority of Green Mountain Power's planned system investments haven't been properly regulated. The result is a $73 million disagreement between the state and the utility.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR File

As regulators decide 2018 electric rates for Green Mountain Power customers, a disagreement between the state and GMP raises a $73 million question about regulation of Vermont's largest electric utility.

AP File Photo

The state has scheduled its first public hearing on the proposed sale of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

The Public Service Board has renewed Comcast's certificate of public good.

The cable company is required to have its CPG renewed every 11 years, and the board issued its order late last week after a year of hearings.

Vermont regulators have denied a request from Vermont Gas to kick a group of Hinesburg residents out of legal proceedings related to the company’s plans to build its pipeline through a park in Hinesburg.

If you live in Vermont, there's a good chance your electric bill will go up a bit this fall. State regulators at the Department of Public Service have approved a rate increase for Green Mountain Power, the state's largest utility.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Officials at the Department of Public Service were considering a policy earlier this year that would make negotiations between the department and utilities more open. Critics have said for years that deals made in private negotiations between utilities and the department are more beneficial for the companies than for their customers. The department disagrees.

The Department of Public Service and Vermont Gas Systems are calling on the Public Service Board to take action to prevent protestors from disrupting board proceedings, according to filings with the board Thursday.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Vermont’s Public Service Board is considering closing the public out of some hearings related to the Vermont Gas Systems pipeline to Addison County, according to a board order.

Earlier this month, Vermont’s Department of Public Service released hundreds of documents in response to a public records request from VPR. All of the documents relate to the department’s preparation of a report, ordered by the Legislature, analyzing the department’s ratepayer advocacy work.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Earlier this week, a report from VPR raised new questions about whether a top government official used his authority to soften internal criticism of his own department. On Thursday afternoon, a Senate committee asked Commissioner of Public Service Chris Recchia to address the story. And Recchia says he engaged in no willful manipulation of the document.

Toby Talbot / AP File

The chairman of Vermont’s Senate Finance Committee is calling Public Service Commissioner Chris Recchia before the Senate committee after documents revealed that Recchia removed key criticisms and reform recommendations from the department’s self-assessment report earlier this year.

“I will be inviting Commissioner Recchia to speak to committee tomorrow,” said Chittenden Sen. Tim Ashe in an email to VPR. “Needless to say, having written the language asking for this report, this is not pretty looking.”

Angela Evancie / VPR File

The commissioner of the Department of Public Service stripped key criticisms and recommendations for legislative reform from the department’s self-assessment earlier this year, overruling suggestions from top staff, documents show.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The Department of Public Service omitted comments from a prominent critic as it developed a report to assess how well it represents the interests of the public, according to legislative testimony. 

John Dillon / VPR File

It might seem like a state agency called the Department of Public Service would have a fairly clear mandate to serve the public. But after years of debate about the department's priorities, lawmakers, the public, and even the department itself are trying to determine if it does a good job representing everyday Vermonters.

John Dillon / VPR File

Hundreds joined a Saturday demonstration against the Vermont Gas Systems Addison County pipeline outside the state office building that houses Vermont’s utility regulators. A leader in the group says about 20 protestors camped out Saturday and Sunday nights before three were arrested Monday morning.

Angela Evancie / VPR File

A new survey from the AARP shows major gaps in public knowledge about the Vermont Gas Systems pipeline to Addison County. It also raises questions about whether the public feels the state department tasked with representing ratepayers has met those obligations.

Toby Talbot / AP File

Vermont’s Public Service Department has long overseen the state’s energy and telecommunications policy. Not long ago that involved keeping tabs on telephone service and electric rates.

But today, renewable energy development, the closing of Vermont Yankee and the importance of broadband present new challenges to the department.