Where does your power come from?
Walpole committee explores Community Power option.
The Walpole Community Power Committee (WCPC) looks to explore the opportunity provided by a NH state law that allows municipalities to become electricity suppliers, negotiating lower electricity rates and clean, sustainable energy on behalf of their communities.
A member of a similar committee in Lebanon NH, Meghan Butts, described the approach in this way – “Think of it as a buying club for electricity.” And in its simplest form, that’s all it is, though it will also offer other opportunities to those wishing to take advantage of them. In addition to providing electricity rates that are lower or competitive with the default rate offered by Liberty Utilities, it will also:
- Provide an energy portfolio that can, at your choosing, prioritize the use of renewable resources, eventually emphasize locally-generated power to the maximum extent technically and economically feasible.
- Create a Reserve Fund to finance projects and programs that, long term, assist residents and businesses in becoming carbon-free and animate local economic activity concerning energy production and conservation.
- Provide training education, guidance, and support to residents and businesses regarding means of generating sustainable forms of energy and methods of conservation of energy such as weatherization and insulation
Our committee will be holding a 2nd informational town meeting about this in mid-December. Stay tuned for this event, and join us in Town Hall to learn more.
By year-end, the Walpole committee will prepare a Warrant Article for a town meeting to vote on adopting a ‘Community Power Aggregation Plan. This plan will be presented to the Select Board for approval and on the ballot at Town Meeting.
Throughout our region, the electric utility industry was restructured in the 1990s to separate the business of generating electric power from the regulated monopoly functions of transmitting and distributing electricity. It’s now a competitive market, and household electric customers can select competitive suppliers that purchase electricity generation from the wholesale market to match the customer’s need. Typically, the larger the need, the lower the rates that become available.
NH law (RSA-53E) was passed in October of 2019. It enabled towns to ‘aggregate retail electric customers, as necessary, to provide such customers access to competitive markets for supplies of electricity and related energy services.’ This law is the basis for Walpole and other NH towns moving forward to explore these opportunities.
Dennis Marcom, for the Walpole Community Power Committee