Public Utility Commission

The Vermont Public Service Board has approved the construction of a renewable natural gas facility on a dairy farm in Salisbury.

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.

Melody Bodette / VPR

At a Public Service Board hearing Monday night in Salisbury over a dozen supporters spoke in favor of a proposed renewable natural gas plant at a dairy farm.

The Lincoln Renewable Natural Gas project will create biomethane gas that can be used in place of natural gas in homes and businesses. The gas will come from manure processed in a methane digester, which will be the first digester in Vermont to produce renewable natural gas. Others currently produce biogas that's burned to generate electricity.

The Vermont Public Service Board denied a permit for a two megawatt solar development in Bennington Tuesday because of conflicts with local development priorities.

The Public Service Board’s decision said the project planned by Chelsea Solar was in violation of three out of four specific requirements in the Bennington Town Plan.

The town of Rutland says local government should have greater oversight in the siting of solar projects. The town’s attorney made the case to the Vermont Supreme Court Wednesday. The town and project neighbors appealed the Public Service Board’s Certificate of Public Good for a 15-acre solar project to be built by Rutland Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of groSolar.

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.

Steve Zind / VPR/file

Under an agreement announced this week, FairPoint Communications moves a step closer to winning changes to regulations that got the company in trouble for long repair delays in Vermont.

Steve Zind / VPR/file

FairPoint Communications is in the midst of a Public Service Board investigation into repair delays experienced by the company’s telephone customers. 

But Fairpoint officials say the fact they’re required to meet certain quality standards is inherently unfair, and they want state regulators to do away with the standards.

A former deputy commissioner at the Department of Public Service will become the newest member of a board that rules over electric utilities, natural gas infrastructure and other energy projects.

Gov. Peter Shumlin said in a release Monday that he’ll appoint Sarah Hofmann to a seat on the Public Service Board. She’ll replace retiring PSB member John Burke, and will join PSB chairman Jim Volz and board member Margaret Cheney on the three-person panel.

Steve Zind / VPR/file

The state is calling for an investigation into an increasing number of customer service complaints about FairPoint Communications. 

Officials also want a review of an emergency 911 outage Friday they say endangered public safety.

For the past year, the Vermont Department of Public Service says it’s been working with FairPoint to resolve issues involving long repair delays for the company’s home telephone customers.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The state’s utility regulators are about to launch an investigation into the use of a toxic chemical on utility poles around the state.

Utilities have been using the chemical – fully aware of its risks – for years with permission from state regulators.

As early as the 1950s, power and telephone companies were putting poles in the ground that were coated in Pentachlorophenol – or PCP.

The Vermont Public Service Board ordered Vermont Gas Systems to stop digging for its pipeline near power lines owned by the Vermont Electric Power Company, citing environmental and health concerns.

Vermont Gas approached the Public Service Board after the state Agency of Natural Resources alerted the company to the possibility that soil contaminated with Pentachlorophenol (PCP) could be disturbed by pipeline construction.

Anti-pipeline activists launched a "fish-in" at the Public Service Board office in Montpelier this afternoon. They want construction of a natural gas pipeline halted while state regulators review a 40 percent increase in the project's cost estimate.

Demonstrators outside the Public Service Board office wore fishing garb and sang protest songs while sitting in a land-bound canoe. One of the protesters was Burlington resident Andy Simon, who is a Vermont Gas ratepayer.

Update: The Army Corps of Engineers granted Vermont Gas Systems the permit in question, allowing the company to begin construction. Read the full story here.

The Vermont Public Service Board Tuesday denied a request by Vermont Gas Systems that would have allowed the company to proceed with project staging for its pipeline without the requisite permits.

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