Monadnock Ledger-Transcript – Public Hears About Peterborough Community Electricity Plan
The Peterborough Community Food Task Force held its first public hearing on the city’s draft community food plan on Tuesday, answering questions about the inclusion of renewable energy sources and the plan’s timeline.
The plan went through the drafting phases and was approved by the Select Committee for presentation to residents earlier in February. As currently written, the plan outlines the process to move Eversource away from Peterborough’s default power plan and give residents the option to pool their energy needs and buy electricity in bulk.
Task force chairman Joel Huberman and member Tony Cassady said there would be many benefits for the city, including better control of energy sources and a clearer path to reach the goal. of the city to have all electricity powered by renewable energy by 2030.
“I would very much like to commend the Community Food Task Force team for the work they have done over the past eight or nine months,” said Bill Kennedy, Task Force Liaison. “It’s amazing the work they’ve done, and the plan is really solid.”
In response to a question from resident Ron McIntire about who would replace Eversource as the energy supplier, Huberman clarified that while Eversource provides energy, it does not provide it, and that Eversource’s role in maintaining cables and electricity distribution will not change.
“What Eversource does is something like we will do,” Huberman said, in terms of entering the electricity market and purchasing energy. Additionally, Eversource would continue to distribute invoices when the change occurs.
“Let’s call Eversource the big dog in the room, and Peterborough Community Power is obviously a smaller player,” McIntire said. “Are there any provisions and arrangements that give you equal footing?”
Huberman said Eversource and other utility companies are constrained by rules that say they can only buy power one day every six months, and failure to follow that rule will level the playing field.
“The tariffs it can offer are limited by the electricity price on those two dates,” he said. “In contrast, neither Peterborough Community Power nor any other organization that is not a utility, which aggregates electricity, is constrained to once every six months.”
Huberman added that this is one of the reasons the task force is confident it will be able to match or beat Eversource’s prices because it can buy at opportune times in the market.
DoriDrachman, a member of the task force, also pointed out that Peterborough Community Power would not be doing it alone, as the plan sets out three potential partners to help global energy – Standard Power, which currently supplies community power to municipal buildings in the city ; Freedom Energy Logistics, another company in a similar position in the community electricity sector; and the Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire, a group of cities that have partnered to provide power to the community. The working group has not yet chosen among these partners, but will make a recommendation once the plan has been approved by voters at the municipal assembly.
“No matter who we end up with, we’ll probably be happy,” Huberman said.
Another question concerned when the plan will be put in place. Huberman said once the plan is approved by voters, it could take a few months, but first the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission needs to finalize its community power rules.
“The legislation enabling community food plans is fairly new,” he said. “Paid-up capital starts the whole process of developing the rules which basically provide the fine details of how each plan will work. »
Huberman said some in the community power field believe it will be complete by late 2022 or early 2023.
Huberman and Cassady encouraged attendees to complete a survey the task force set up on community power, to provide more input and feedback before the plan is incorporated into a terms of reference article. The survey can be viewed at bit.ly/222Survey. Members of the working group said they have already received more than 100 responses, most of which express positive opinions about the community food plan, particularly its renewable energy possibilities.
For the full draft plan, visit the task force page on the City of Peterborough website at peterboroughnh.gov.
The task force will hold its second and final public hearing on the community energy plan on Thursday, February 24 at 5 p.m.