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BED Celebrates 110th Birthday with National Award

For immediate release
April 29, 2015

Contact:               Neale Lunderville

BED Celebrates 110th Birthday with National Award

“ACE” Award Recognizes Burlington’s Commitment to Efficiency and Renewables

Burlington, VT – One hundred and ten years ago today, amid fanfare and fireworks, the Queen City was illuminated with the first lights of its new municipal utility: the Burlington Electric Department (BED) was born. The utility was given the charge to provide its customers with the “brightest light, cheapest light, and cleanest light” possible. In 1905, that meant generating 100% of its electricity from a coal-fired power plant on the shores of Lake Champlain. Today, 110 years later, BED still burns bright, affordable, and clean, but now as one of the first cities in the nation to source 100% of its power from renewable generation.

BED is celebrating its 110th birthday with the announcement of winning the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) prestigious 2015 Award of Continued Excellence (ACE). The ACE is given by APPA’s Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments (DEED) Program and is awarded to only one of nearly 900 DEED member utilities. ACE is awarded to the public power utility that has demonstrated continued commitment to the DEED program and its ideals: commitment to energy efficiency, use of renewable resources, support of public power, and support of research, development, and demonstration projects.

“BED is one hundred and ten years young and shows no signs of slowing down,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “This award showcases BED’s forward-thinking commitment and recognizes the incredible efforts we’ve made as a community to become more energy efficient and renewable.  We are very fortunate in Burlington to have such a hard-working BED team. I thank them, and their colleagues who came before them, for their collective efforts that have fueled BED for more than a century and led to this impressive award.”

In 2014, BED made national news as one of the nation’s first cities to source 100% of its electricity from renewable generation, including wind, solar, biomass and hydro, a good portion of which is produced inside city limits.

“Even as a supercentenarian, we are continuing to serve our customers with safe, reliable, renewable power at a cost they can afford,” said Neale Lunderville, BED’s General Manager. “We are deeply honored to accept the 2015 Award of Continued Excellence from APPA. This award is the culmination of decades of hard work by BED employees and our Electric Commission. We are grateful for their far-sighted vision and dedicated service to our community.”

“APPA is proud of the DEED program,” said APPA Senior Vice President of Engineering Services Mike Hyland. “But DEED wouldn’t be as successful as it is without committed members like BED. BED serves as a shining example of what it means to be an innovative utility that is committed to renewable and efficient energy."

Tom Buckley, BED’s Manager of Customer and Energy Services and architect of BED’s award-winning efficiency program, will accept the award at an APPA conference in May. “Through BED’s efficiency efforts dating back to the late 1980s, Burlington uses less electricity today than we did in 1989 – an impressive feat,” said Buckley.

Buckley noted that BED has received four DEED grants for projects related to energy efficiency. The most recent DEED grant was in 2014 for BED to test the impact of in-home energy information devices empowered by the smart grid. This project is now underway in collaboration with UVM.

Buckley also noted that BED has also been the two-time recipient of APPA’s Energy Innovator Award: in 1992 for its “Neighbor$ave” program and in 2002 for its “SafeTorch” program.

BED was one of 11 utilities nationwide who were on hand for the original organizational meeting of the APPA in 1940. Since that time, BED has established a continuous record of support for public power as a critical piece of America’s energy infrastructure. BED plans to continue its tradition of publicly driven innovation as we move further into the 21st century.



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