POLL: Vermonters split on Vermont Yankee and GMP-CVPS merger, support renewables

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POLL: Vermonters split on Vermont Yankee and GMP-CVPS merger, support renewables

Wed, 05/23/2012 - 6:01am -- tim

Vermonters seem to be split on whether the state should keep fighting the re-licensing of Vermont Yankee, according to a new poll. They also seem undecided on the merger of GMP and CVPS. And a majority of poll respondents support the idea of repaying CVPS customers related to a rate increase several years ago. Meanwhile, respondents strongly support renewable energy.
According to a new poll (see data below) commissioned by Vermont Business Magazine/WDEV/WCAX, those who oppose the nuclear power plant in Vernon are about equal to the number to those who do not want the state to close it. Less than half of those polled, 44.8 percent, want the state to continue to try and shutter the 40-year-old plant. Another 44.2 percent do not want it closed. And 10.7 percent were undecided.
However, Vermonters seem very interested in supporting wind energy and for the state to subsidize alternative energy generation. In fact, there was very little opposition to the question of whether to build wind energy turbines on the stateâ s ridgelines; 69.4 percent of respondents support the wind turbines, 17.3 percent oppose them and 13.2 were undecided.
State of Vermont subsidies for alternative energy generation also received strong support, if not quite at the same level as wind, as 63.1 percent supported it, 24.1 percent opposed and 12.7 percent were undecided.
A much lukewarm reception was received for the question of whether Vermonters support or oppose the merger of the stateâ s two largest electric utilities, Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power. The parent company of GMP and Vermont Gas wants to buy CVPS and merge CVPS into GMP to create one company. A plurality of respondents support the merger (36.4 percent), but nearly as many arenâ t sure (33.4 percent). Meanwhile, 28.7 percent oppose the merger.
Poll respondents sided with ratepayers on the volatile issue of whether to compensate ratepayers in some direct manner for rate hikes on CVPS customers a decade ago, which were increased by CVPS to forestall bankruptcy. The Public Service Board did not stipulate that a cash payment had to be made when it agreed to the rate hike in 2001, but, led by AARP, those who want repayment, instead of an alternative plan such as weatherization, garnered the support in this poll
With only 9.6 percent undecided, 66.4 percent support repaying CVPS customers, while 23.4 percent believe the $21 million in question should be used for energy efficiency programs.
This survey was conducted for WCAX, WDEV and Vermont Business Magazine by the Castleton Polling Institute at Castleton College. A total of 607 likely voters were interviewed statewide by telephone between May 7th to May 16th.  
Those interviewed were selected from a random sample of registered voters in Vermont. The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Thursday's poll to first run at 11 am on vermontbiz.com will feature questions on the economy and business, and the polling will conclude Friday with a report on WCAX at noon on health care, cell phone use while driving and death with dignity. 
Monday: Sorrell outpaces Donovan, Illuzzi in new Vermont Attorney General poll
Tuesday: Poll: Shumlin approval rating high

In your opinion, should the state of Vermont continue to try and close Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant?

 

Frequency

Percent

Yes, try to close Vermont Yankee

272

44.8

No, do not close Vermont Yankee

268

44.2

Not sure/it depends

65

10.7

Refused

2

.3

Total

607

100.0

Do you support or oppose building wind energy turbines along the stateâ s ridgelines?
 

 

Frequency

Percent

Support it

421

69.4

Oppose it

105

17.3

Not sure/it depends

80

13.2

Refused

1

.2

Total

607

100.0

Do you think the Vermont state government, generally, should subsidize alternative
energy generation?

 

Frequency

Percent

Yes, it should

383

63.1

No, it should not

146

24.1

Not sure/it depends

77

12.7

Refused

1

.2

Total

607

100.0

Do you support or oppose the merger of CVPS and Green Mountain Power?
 

 

Frequency

Percent

Support merger

221

36.4

Oppose merger

174

28.7

Not sure/it depends

203

33.4

Refused

8

1.3

Total

606

99.8

System

1

.2

Total

607

100.0

Do you think that CVPS should now repay the money to its customers, or do you think that money should go toward weatherization and energy efficiency efforts?

 

Frequency

Percent

Returned to rate payers

403

66.4

Put toward weatherization and energy efficiency programs

142

23.4

Not/Sure/It depends

58

9.6

Refused

2

.3

Total

605

99.7

System

1

.2

Total

607

100.0

RELATED: 
AARP intervenes in CVPS-GMP merger to secure $21 million for ratepayers