By Paul Conyers
Community energy aggregation was once again on the agenda at the Utilities Committee meeting on Oct. 3. Freedom Energy and the Colonial Power Group are still spearheading the aggregation proposal. Familiar faces, Bart Fromuth, of Freedom Energy Logistics and, Stuart Ormsbee, of Colonial Power Group were present to get a more detailed update after their last presentation at the August Utilities meeting. Both men have been looking to implement aggregation plans in NH for the past three years.
“You are working with both companies and you have our resources at your disposal,” outlined Fromuth. “We’ll be helping out a public education, Stuart and I will be going on your Londonderry television and helping to educate people on what they can expect in terms of the program and their rights under the program.”
The energy subcommittee recently went through with the initial plan, enter they had some concerns. One such concern involved having the names of two different supplier companies involved. The Utilities Committee wanted to know who would be responsible for service in case of a dispute.
“Both companies are named here in the second paragraph of the introduction of the agreement, but who is responsible for what?” asked Utilities Chairman, Lynn Wiles. We also have a contract with FEL [Freedom Energy Logistics].”
Fromuth clarified that Freedom Energy would be the primary supplier while subcontracting some services to Colonial, and he offered to modify the agreement to address this issue. While the town already has a contract, the aggregation plan will need to be presented to the state separately for regulatory approval.
Committee members also wanted more concrete numbers indicating what percentage of Londonderry currently uses independent energy suppliers. As written, the aggregation plan is designed to replace the ongoing contract with Eversource, but it was unclear what the town or Freedom Energy would do if a third-party provider had better rates.
“I think we need to be cognizant that we have a program the whole town is going to be looking at,” said Alternate Member, John Mahon. “We don’t want to have a program where people are saying this isn’t any good.”
Any supplier choosing to participate in the program will be required to maintain a contract rate regardless of market fluctuations. Ormsbee and Fromuth expect the vast majority of Londonderry residents to participate. Ideally, the more customers in the plan, the better the rates should be for everyone.
Residents looking to opt out of the program will have notice before the program is put into effect. Committee members asked to weigh in on the language of opt-out notices before they were sent out.
They hope to send the notices out by the second quarter of 2024 and to get an updated aggregation clan with the request that changes by the end of the week. Two outreach meetings are planned before the program goes into effect, and information will be available on the town website.