Electric Aggregation Plan Set For Council Approval

Londonderry’s Community Aggregation Program has moved forward after a public hearing on Saturday morning, June 29.
Stuart Ormsby, Vice President of Colonial Power Group’s Power Supply Strategies, was at the hearing to answer questions related to the program.
“Colonial Power Group and Freedom Energy Logistics are our chosen partners that we’re proceeding with on this project,” explained Utilities Chair, Lynn Wiles. “Stuart has a lot of experience with these programs in a lot of state, and we feel they’ll be a great partner moving forward.”
The second public hearing was one of the final steps town officials must go through before the Aggregation Plan comes into effect.
“After we have this second public hearing, the [Utilities] Committee will return to the Town Council to gets its final vote and approval,” said Ormsby.
The plan will also require state approval, although Ormsby went on to emphasize that Aggregation might not come into effect immediately, preferring to wait until “market conditions are good,” with a rough goal of launching in early 2025.
“What this is all about is providing an opportunity for a town or a city to form a buying group on behalf of its residents and business consumers who are currently taking their power supply from their local utilities,” he said. “It’s called an ‘opt-out program.’ What that means is any consumer who is currently taking their power supply from their local utility, they would be considered to be in the program, unless that individual chooses to opt-out.”
With the exception of net metering consumers, all current Eversource customers will enter the Aggregation plan unless they actively choose not to participate. The cost of covering the program is included in utility rates. There should be no impact from a tax perspective.
He claimed the objective was to achieve savings over time with a lower average electricity rate.
“With this program, are we going to see steady rates for 18 months or two years or whatever we end up negotiating?” asked Wiles.
Ormsby stated that prices should be “smoother” over many years without sudden rate increases and decreases with each negotiated power supply contract. Individual customers will have more expensive options where a certain percentage of power comes from renewable energy and will have the option to go with third-party suppliers.
There were several questions from members of the public.
“What’s the percentage of savings?” asked Richard Bielinski of 89 Hall Road, who wanted to know what other NH towns were saving with similar aggregation programs. “Because one thing that’s going to be clear is that it’s only on the supply part.”
Ormsby noted that Aggregation programs are still new and that Colonial’s only statewide example so far is in Hampton, where local consumers locked in a rate around 15% lower than the local provider.
There also were a few concerns about the opt-out clause, designed to encourage high enrollment in the program.
“You’re putting people into something without getting their okay,” said Bielinski. “I have a problem that, I don’t want people in my business unless they ask me!”
Robert Lebreux of 76 Hall Road was more concerned with transparency, noting that while an opt-in/opt-out program could be beneficial, it only worked if residents had ready access to the price of a community plan compared to an Eversource plan.
“You do need to be active and keep an eye on where the prices are going as soon as they’re available, and they’re not always available as soon as you’d like them to be,” said Lebreux. “I’m glad it’s happening, I’m glad you folks are doing this, I’ve been in it from the onset.”
Wiles confirmed that there would be no penalty for those who wanted to opt in or opt out, no matter how many times they chose to change their supplier.
“We want to continue to help the town runs its program for as long as they’ll have us, that’s a big incentive for us to do this right,” said Ormsby.

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