Home News and Features Customer Access to Home Energy Storage Programs is Approved

Customer Access to Home Energy Storage Programs is Approved

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Tesla Powerwalls in a Colchester home. Courtesy photo.
Green Mountain Power (GMP) customers will have greater access to seamless, cost-effective home battery backup power following an order by the Vermont Public Utility Commission last week. 

In April, after the third devastating storm in less than 12 months, GMP filed a request to lift the enrollment caps on its popular Powerwall and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) home battery programs. Removing the cap allows more customers access to the program as Vermont sees increasingly severe weather as a result of climate change. The Commission agreed, citing growing customer demand for home batteries, the likelihood of more extreme weather in the future, and that the home battery programs benefit all GMP customers.

“Accelerating storm resiliency is our path forward, especially after what Vermonters have gone through this year. We’re pleased we can expand access allowing more customers to enroll in these programs, which have a proven track record of keeping customers powered up through extremely tough conditions,” said Mari McClure, GMP president and CEO. “This is just one aspect of the multi-layered resiliency work we have been doing across our system since launching our Climate Plan three years ago building out initiatives to help Vermont communities stay connected.”

Since 2020, both the Powerwall and BYOD programs had been capped at 500 customers, or 5 megawatts of energy storage, per program, per year. The waitlist for the Powerwall program is now 1,200 customers long, and the program is full into 2026. About 300 customers joined the waitlist this summer, following historic flooding in the state.

Candace Nattie, a GMP customer from Norwich, had joined the waitlist for the Powerwall program after heavy, wet snow tore down trees and poles across Vermont in December 2022. She had a few days without power while her neighbors, already in the Powerwall program, stayed powered up.

“This is a relief, to have the ability to have power and stay at home safely in severe weather, and the severe storms keep happening here and around the world. It is a real sense of security and comfort to have power, water, and heat,” Nattie said.

In the Powerwall program, customers lease two Tesla Powerwall batteries from GMP for $55 per month. Customers choose the certified installer they prefer. The lease is a significant savings over purchasing the batteries because customers in the program also agree to share stored energy with GMP during times of peak energy use, such as heat waves. During times of peak demand, energy can be expensive and carbon intensive. By sharing energy during these peak times and putting it back on the grid, it reduces costs and carbon emissions for all GMP customers. 

In the BYOD program, customers buy a battery of their choosing from a local installer, and they can receive an incentive up to $10,500 from GMP depending on how much stored energy they agree to share during peaks.

To date, about 2,900 GMP customers have more than 4,800 batteries in their homes. During energy peaks, GMP networks that stored energy, along with utility scale batteries and devices such as car chargers, into a virtual power plant of about 50 megawatts of stored energy. Combined, this growing stored energy network has saved GMP customers up to $3 million a year for the last few years.

With the cap lifted, customers can now continue to sign up for GMP’s home energy storage programs online, and the timing for installations will depend on scheduling with the installer a customer selects.

Green Mountain Power first offered home batteries for backup power through pilot programs in 2015, becoming the first utility in the U.S. to partner with Tesla. Green Mountain Power was the first utility in the country to earn regulatory approval to offer fully tariffed home energy programs in 2020, after regulators decided the Powerwall and BYOD pilot programs provided reliable, seamless backup power for participating customers while also reducing costs for all GMP customers through energy sharing.

Customers interested in signing up for the program can visit the GMP website: greenmountainpower.com/rebates-programs/home-energy-storage/powerwall.

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