Valley News – Column: Community electricity promises lower tariffs, greener electricity

Published: 11/7/2021 22:00:03

Modified: 07/11/2021 22:00:05

Since 1996, when the New Hampshire legislature opened up the purchase of electricity to market competition, I have received numerous calls to the Lebanese Housing Authority from commercial brokers offering to save us money. money by providing us with electricity. Even though our electricity bill was substantial, I couldn’t deal with having to constantly check – and repeatedly negotiate – electricity rates.

In the meantime, most of the large Lebanese companies saved money by using competitive electricity providers, while some 6,000 residents and 1,000 small businesses simply stayed with the purchasing power of Liberty Utilities, regardless of the default rate offered.

Now comes a community food plan in Lebanon to provide small customers with the market benefits that large customers have enjoyed. Rather than having to buy each one individually for our electricity, Lebanon Community Power will “bundle” the default utility customers in Lebanon and find lower tariffs and greener energy for all of us. A sort of buying club.

The idea is so appealing that five New Hampshire municipalities outside of Lebanon (Hanover, Nashua, Harrisville, Rye and Exeter) have adopted or are in the process of adopting their own community food plans, and 20 more are studying the issue.

And then comes the really innovative part: these municipalities intend to consolidate their programs into the Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire.

Community energy will not be just one employee in each city trying to find a broker with the best deal in a single fixed-term electricity supply contract. The coalition will have purchasing power greater than that of any municipality, if not greater than the entire default service load of Liberty Utilities.

For our benefit, he may use professional power supply consultants to create a sophisticated portfolio of risk-managed power sources, including wholesale power, short-term phased contracts and contracts with local and regional renewable energy producers. As someone pointed out, “This shot is really hot, I mean cool!

The coalition is built to insulate Lebanon and the other power programs of member communities from risks due to fluctuating prices. The cost of its services, including administration and customer service, will be built into the rates that individual customers pay, so that there will (by law) be no cost to taxpayers except incidental start-up costs, such as required hearings.

The coalition will be able to deliver benefits that utilities cannot or will not provide, such as supporting the development of regional renewable generation and storage capacity for a greener and more resilient grid.

It can support the equivalent of net metering. It may offer optional network modernization pilot programs to study the effectiveness of time-varying tariffs to save even more money for customers wishing to shift some of their usage to off-peak hours, and (c ‘ is the one that excites me the most), possibly offering innovative programs to encourage weatherization.

There will be an introductory hearing Thursday at 7 p.m. and another on August 18 in the new city council chamber, in person or on, preparatory to the city council that is considering adopting community power in Lebanon . plan.

Jonathan Chaffee, from West Lebanon, is a member of the Lebanon Energy Advisory Board.

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