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Developed a year forecast of efficiency potential from commercial and residential lighting for the Vermont Demand Resources Plan DRP. Forecast metrics: adoption, energy and demand savings, and incentive spending. Lead technical advisor on specification development. Supported the design and launch of the Efficiency Excellence Network for Efficiency Vermont trade allies. Helped establish trade group participation criteria, assisted in trade ally recruiting, and delivered program and technical training.
Continuously expanded and evolved the program to keep pace with emerging technology and market changes. Created a program that pairs Vermont commercial customers with professional lighting designers on retrofit projects to improve comprehensiveness. Assisted in the design and launch of a partnership between Vermont municipalities and utilities for upgrading street lighting to LED.
Used financial strategies to address the non-depreciated asset costs while minimizing the municipality investment cost. Provided technical support to the program administrator and municipalities. Used data analytics to evaluate and forecast product adoption and energy savings potential in the Vermont commercial lighting market.
Developed new program strategies based on the data insights. Designed and launched an LED direct install program for small and medium-sized businesses in Vermont. Targeted customers who were in capacity constrained areas of the electric grid in an attempt to avoid costly infrastructure investments. Responsible for RFP management, contractor selection, budgeting, and performance management.
Alliance to Save Energy. Mellinger, Dan. DesignLights Consortium. I just don't see it. He suggested that the allure of inviting private industry to take over liquor sales and distribution in order to make more money will only invite more problems, from market oversaturation to alcohol abuse. But I think that's the biggest mistake Vermont could make.
From until , it was illegal to sell hard alcohol in the Green Mountains, though local moonshiners and smugglers supplied Vermonters during the Prohibition years. In , when the 21st Amendment voided the Volstead Act , Vermont was one of 17 states, along with jurisdictions in Alaska, Maryland, Minnesota and South Dakota, that chose to adopt a control model to regulate alcohol.
Although each state's system differed somewhat, the common denominator was that the state owned the liquor at some point in the purchasing process. In , Vermont created the DLC to oversee the sale and distribution of all hard alcohol in the state.
Surprisingly little has changed since then. Until , Vermont owned and operated all its own liquor stores. In the ensuing decade, it began converting state-owned stores to privately licensed liquor "agents. Today, 80 agent retailers have exclusive contracts to sell liquor in their area. They offer the same sales on the same days, at prices listed in the DLC's statutorily mandated quarterly, Spirits. Those prices cannot vary, regardless of the store's proximity to competitors just across the border in New Hampshire, New York or Massachusetts.
Similarly, every restaurant, bar and nightclub pays the same price for a bottle of Jim Beam or Jack Daniels as the average Joe Vermonter. Pro-privatizers argue that liquor could easily be sold through the same business channels as beer, wine, cider and other lower-proof alcoholic beverages. Currently, Vermont has four major beer and wine distributors — Baker Distributing, Farrell Distributing, g. Those stores range from small mom-and-pops to major national chains such as Walmart, Costco, Shaw's and Price Chopper.
Not everyone is convinced it's wise to mess with Vermont's spirit world. Some, including officials at the DLC itself, argue that Vermont's liquor control system works fine and doesn't need fixing. They contend that Vermont, like other control states, has done a better job than "open states" of reducing overconsumption and keeping high-proof spirits out of the hands of minors.
Moreover, privatization opponents also say that any financial benefits — notably, higher tax revenues reaped from greater liquor sales, the eliminated costs of staffing and maintaining a state warehouse, and the one-time windfall of selling off all its inventory — would be short-lived. They contend that such gains would be more than offset by other public health and safety costs, including higher rates of alcoholism, drunk driving and more emergency room visits.
Hogan points to Maine, which privatized its liquor wholesaling in , and Washington, which fully privatized in In both states, there's evidence that competition decreased, consumer prices increased, and many small retailers and artisan distillers got squeezed out.
Vermont has considered privatizing before; the legislature mandated studies in the s and again in Auditor Hoffer decided to give the matter another look. But the analysis did raise a fundamental question: Is the sale of liquor a "core function" of state government, akin to plowing streets and patroling highways?
If not, Hoffer suggested, then lawmakers should reconsider whether private industry can do the job safely, efficiently and more profitably for taxpayers. Although the report doesn't say as much, in a recent interview Hoffer pointed out that his office was "intentionally conservative" in its calculations of the fiscal impact of privatization. Hoffer said he didn't want to make any "risky or imprudent assumptions about what the future might hold" if liquor sales were privatized.
But he suggested that liquor tax revenues could be significantly higher because private wholesalers and retailers would have more incentives to sell more booze than state-controlled stores do now. Part of the problem, Hoffer explained, is that owners of many state liquor outlets have little incentive to move their product, because that's not where they make most of their money. Most state liquor stores are located within larger retail outlets that also sell beer, wine and other groceries.
Liquor is just another product to get customers in the door. Formerly known as Merola's, it was previously located about a half mile north of its current location. Shoppers there can choose from an impressive selection of local, domestic and imported beers, wines, ciders and other alcoholic beverages. With more than twice the space of its old location, the store also has racks of domestic and imported wines.
The liquor bottles, meanwhile, are tucked away to one side of the store and segregated from the rest of the retail operation like the adult-movie section of a video store. There are no posters or other promotional material aggressively marketing spirits. How do retailers like Beverage get into the booze business?
Basically, storeowners apply for a license to sell distilled spirits on their premises. Whether they receive DLC approval is based in part on their proximity to other agent stores and potential sales growth in that area. Hogan said the DLC does market research to determine whether a new outlet will generate additional revenue for the state or simply pull sales away from another nearby store.
In that respect, state liquor sellers are buffered from the normal pressures of market competition. Once they're licensed, agent stores earn a fixed 6. Those include whether the store is clean and well organized, whether it routinely checks IDs for underage buyers, how well it manages inventory and whether it meets state-determined sales goals based on past historic data for that area.
But as Hoffer pointed out in his report, 11 of those 12 performance categories cannot be measured objectively because no standards have ever been established. Contracts with state agents are initially awarded for one year at a time but can eventually increase to three- and five-year contracts.
Hoffer characterized such arrangements as "entitlements," adding that, short of flagrant and repeated rules violations, "the people who have them are good for life. While he doesn't think that most state liquor agents do a poor job of selling spirits, Hoffer suggested there's little incentive for them to focus on their liquor operations over the rest of their retail business. Except for restrictions on their hours of operation and the age of customers to whom they can sell, those licensees essentially can do whatever they want to move their products.
As such, Hoffer sees no substantive difference between distilled spirits and other alcoholic beverages. Following the same logic, he isn't convinced that increased liquor sales would automatically lead to greater social ills, such as more DUIs and overconsumption. There's no reason not to follow the beer and wine path and license it rather than control it. Then again, some who acknowledge the benefits of switching to a privatized model won't say so publicly, because they're wary of invoking the DLC's ire.
Most of the Vermont beer and wine distributors contacted for this story either didn't return calls or declined to comment on the record. But, as one suggested privately, "every distributor in the state" would jump at the opportunity to also sell booze; they already have the staff, trucks, delivery routes, franchise arrangements and retailer relationships. Nevertheless, this distributor wouldn't belly up to the bar and push that agenda publicly. They are our police," he explained, referring to the DLC and its enforcement authority.
The interior is another story: Along with their family photos, many staffers proudly display Vermont-made products such as Sapling maple liqueur, Barr Hill Gin, WhistlePig rye and Silo vodka at their workstations.
But five months after Hoffer's report, the Burlington Free Press discovered the department had been making undocumented overtime payments to William Goggins, the DLC's director of education, licensing and enforcement. That policy, approved by Hogan, drew condemnation from the governor and prompted two legislative investigations.
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