Residents can comment on Greenfield community power plan Jan. 28

The Community Power Committee will meet Sunday, Jan. 28, at the Greenfield Meetinghouse. 

The Community Power Committee will meet Sunday, Jan. 28, at the Greenfield Meetinghouse.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

By JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript 

Published: 01-17-2024 11:46 AM

No members of the public attended the Greenfield Community Power Committee public hearing Tuesday night due to weather, but a second hearing is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 28, at 2:30 pm at the Greenfield Meetinghouse.

Community power allows municipalities to pool the buying power of residents and businesses to purchase electricity at lower rates, and often provides options to receive more energy from renewable sources. The purpose of the public hearing is to solicit input on a proposed community power plan for Greenfield.

“We are hoping  that by holding the next hearing in the daytime, on the weekend, we will  get a few more folks to turn out. We are really looking for community feedback in this process,” said Tom Bascom, the Greenfield Select Board representative of the Community Power Committee.

The committee also includes Karen Day, Linda Dodge, Gil Morris, and Dan Walsh. 

The Greenfield community power plan would empower the town to enter into electric services agreements (ESAs) with competitive electric power suppliers. The town plan would replace the default residential plan provided by Eversource, but residents would have the option to opt out of community power and stay with Eversource. 

The proposal will be submitted for approval to voters at the 2024 annual Town Meeting. The Community Power Committee is considering two alternative drafts of the warrant article and will be finalizing the wording of the warrant after the hearing on the 28th. The draft of the proposed warrant currently reads: “To see if the Town will vote to adopt the Greenfield Community Power Electric Aggregation Plan, which authorizes the Selectboard to develop and implement Greenfield Community Power as described therein (pursuant to RSA 53-E:7). The program would provide a new default electric supply and new renewable energy supply options for customers in Greenfield. There is no cost to the Town budget, and no obligation to participate. Customers can opt out at any time and return to utility default service on their next available monthly meter read date.”

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If adopted, the community power program would affect only the “supply line” on customer’s bills, indicating the power supplier. Transmission, distribution, emergency services, including information and updates about outages; and billing would continue to be provided by Eversource.

Bascom notes there while there are no fees to opt out, join, or change options within the program, customers who opt out and then rejoin the program may be charged a market rate. There is no cost to the town budget. 

If the warrant article is approved, Greenfield  will move forward with the process of initiating community power.

“The next step would be to get the plan approved by the Public Utilities Commission. After that,  we would negotiate contacts for power. There is a process we have to go through before the plan gets implemented; there is a waiting period and I believe another hearing, so it’s a gradual process,” Bascom said. 

If the plan is approved, postcards will be sent to all households in town offering residents the chance to opt out. 

Bascom stated previously that people who currently sell power such as solar back to Eversource are in a different situation and would need to talk to the utility before making any decision regrading community power. 

Information about community power is available at communitypowernh.gov.