Town Votes to Authorize Community Power at Town Meeting, May 22, 2021
Town Meeting Minutes
Warrant Article 08: Community Power: To see if the Town will vote to adopt the Harrisville Community Power Electric Aggregation Plan, TM-05-22-2021, which authorizes the Select Board to develop and implement Harrisville Community Power as described therein (pursuant to RSA 53-E:7). [Recommended by the Select Board. Majority vote required.]
The article was moved and seconded. Jay Jacobs spoke to the passion and dedication of Andrea Hodson and the effort and dedication of all members of the Electric Aggregation Committee to bring this plan forward. Ned Hulbert described the legislative history of the initiative and opportunity for municipalities to aggregate supply of electricity through purchase on the open market. He explained the short and longer term benefits, including cheaper rates and more options for renewable energy options, as well as the opportunity to establish a local energy reserve fund to keep rates stable and enable local investment in renewables. The Select Board would be involved throughout the process and will contract with a supplier in a way that makes the most sense for the town.
Mr. Hulbert, Andrew Maneval and technical expert Henry Herndon answered residents’ questions, including that the costs to the Town would be nothing more than the price of electricity. Participation in the plan is voluntary, with the ability for anyone to opt out at any time, and the ability of the town to terminate at any time. The committee also noted other NH towns’ efforts to embark on Community Power plans. Jay Jacobs emphasized that this is not a guarantee of lower rates but an opportunity for more choice, but the committee noted the SB will solicit bids from several vendors and won’t enter a contract unless the rates are less. While agreeing there is no guarantee, they added that, statistically, this is the case.
Several residents spoke in favor of the plan, emphasizing interest in more control, more competitive rates, more options for renewable energy sources and its fit with the Town’s Master Plan. The committee also confirmed that the infrastructure would continue to be maintained and repaired by Eversource.
Upon a call for a vote from the Moderator, Article 08 passed by voice vote.
Click here to download a copy of the Community Power Electric Aggregation Plan (TM 05-22-2021). The Plan is included in the 2020 Annual Town Report. Copies are also available at Town Hall.