Energy Task Force Hears From N.H. Power Coalition

By Alex Malm

Henry Herndon, from the Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire (CPCNH) visited with the Londonderry Energy Efficiency Task Force during their April 21 meeting and discuss how his program could save residents money on energy buying.
Herndon explained that CPCNH is a non profit that was formed last year and consists of 19 members of the coalition. He explained that it came from the result of legislation that was passed in 2019 that gave the opportunity for municipalities to implement community power programs.
He explained that it essentially makes the Town the default electricity provider and businesses and residents would be able to get their electricity through bulk purchasing powers. Herndon said that the electric company would still control it.
Herndon added that it could mean things like greater choice of electricity or lower bills along with other services that come with the program. He said that a number of different states have implemented the program and have seen the results.
Town Councilor Deb Paul, the Chair of the Energy Task Force said that they had a conversation with the Town Council in the past but it was put on the back burner.
It was explained by Herndon that it would be an automatic enrollment for residents, where they would get a letter saying that they are part of the program unless they want to opt out and go back to the utility provider.
Herndon said that people can also pay a premium for things like having more renewables.
Craig Putnam, a town official from Hudson said that when they looked to do it in his town and they formed a subcommittee of the sustainability committee to look at it.
He said that one of the first things they did was sign the joint powers agreement between all the towns.
“We now have some influence,” said Putnam.
Putnam said that there isn’t a cost to join it.
“Everyones participates in various ways,” said Putnam.
Herndon also noted that there isn’t any risk for a town by signing the joint powers agreement.
“The joint powers agreement is zero risk, zero cost,” said Herndon.
One of the questions that was asked was how much people could save by using the program.
It was explained by Herndon that none of the programs are currently operating in New Hampshire but they expect that to change in the beginning of the year.
Herndon also pointed out that they could also have a municipal solar array while also being part of the program, a question that some members of the Energy Task Force had.
Herndon said that they would still have an Eversource contract to manage the lines and the grid.
Paul said that she would talk to Town Manager Mike Malagutti and may have them come to the Town Council for a presentation.
The next Londonderry Energy Committee meeting is slated for May 19 at 7 p.m.

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