Barton Village votes down sale of electric company

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 11:45 PM EDT|Updated: May. 11, 2022 at 6:19 AM EDT
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BARTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Barton Village residents will be paying more to turn on the lights after rejecting a plan on Tuesday to sell their local electric company.

The vote was 100-48. Barton Board of Trustees members tell WCAX News the utility has been too much to manage, citing financial problems and staffing shortages. Board chair Nate Sicard says the Vermont Electric Cooperative has been doing the utility work for the past three years.

Since selling it is no longer an option, Sicard says residents can expect to see rate hikes of up to 10%.

Meanwhile, the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority says voters made the right decision because larger utilities rarely cater to unique community needs.

“We’ll move forward like we always move forward. We will hire a consultant to handle all the obligations of the department to take the weight off the trustees,” Sicard said.

“Voters felt there were other, perhaps better, paths to go forward. Now, this gives them time to actually evaluate all the alternatives and decide what the best path is,” said Ken Nolan of the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority.

In the meantime, the Vermont Electric Cooperative has agreed to manage the utility for the next three months.

The Barton Electric Company serves more than 2,000 people in and around the village.

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