Monadnock Ledger-Transcript – Dublin considering a community energy plan

Monadnock Ledger Transcript

Published: 11/23/2022 12:12:26

Dublin is the next New Hampshire city to discuss the possibility of community power, a concept that aims to reduce energy costs through collective purchasing power. The Energy Committee is expected to meet with a representative from the Cheshire County Electric Aggregation Plan on Wednesday.

Aggregation plans allow local governments to procure electricity on behalf of their residents, often from an alternative supplier, while still receiving their distribution services from companies like Eversource. Individual towns can write and enact their own plans – a process towns like Peterborough and Wilton participate in – but Cheshire County’s plan would allow any town in the county to join the plan without having to do the legwork to design their own.

Dori Drachman, a member of the Peterborough Community Power Task Force and co-chair of the Monadnock Sustainability Hub, has previously met with the Dublin Energy Committee to present the concept of the Cheshire County Plan to them. She said it might make more sense for smaller towns to join an existing group.

“The plan and the details of the plan have already been worked out for them. They don’t have to worry about what tariff structure they want or who they choose as their provider, since those decisions are made by the county. It’s a piece that’s being lifted off the shoulders of small towns,” Drachman said.

On Wednesday 30 November, Cheshire Borough Commissioner Terry Clark will attend the monthly Dublin Energy Committee meeting. He will present information about Cheshire County’s proposed electricity aggregation plan and answer questions.

Cheshire Community Power anticipates launching an opt-in program for power generation within the county. Any resident, business or community in Cheshire County can voluntarily choose to purchase their electrical power from Cheshire Community Power.

The Cheshire County Plan is yet to be passed but is expected to be voted on December 5th.

The talks follow energy price increases across the state. Currently, the approved six-month residential utility rate in New Hampshire is 22.566 cents per kilowatt hour. Including distribution costs, the cost of a kilowatt hour rose from about 19 cents to 32 cents as of Aug. 1, causing residents across the region to see their bills increase just as the state enters its coldest and darkest year.

Bigger cities like Peterborough can choose to write their own plans because it gives them greater control over the same decisions, Drachman said. But to pass a city-specific plan, the city must approve it in a vote at the city assembly. Joining a borough plan is a simpler process that relies only on selection committee approval — though some cities may choose to make it a warrant anyway.

Collective purchasing power can lead to lower prices or more flexibility, e.g. B. by increasing the proportion of renewable energy sources that are used.

Even though providers like Eversource have two set times a year when they can select electricity providers and set tariffs, a community energy plan allows participants to manage their purchases whenever they want, allowing the group to buy electricity when tariffs are low.

Ashley Saari can be reached at ext. 60 3-924-7172. 244 or [email protected] She is on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.