The Board meets on the first and third Monday of each month. Meetings begin at 1:00 p.m. and are held in the department conference room at 65 Lafayette Ave, Littleton. Board meetings are open to the public and time is allotted for public comments at each meeting.
The regularly scheduled Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting began at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, July 06, 2015 in the Littleton Water and Light Department (LWL) conference room. Present were Commissioner Ralph Ross, Commissioner Eddy Moore (via telephone), Commissioner Perry Goodell, Financial Services Director Cheryl Wilkins and Superintendent Thomas Considine.
The minutes of the June 15, 2015 regularly scheduled Commissioners meeting were reviewed. Commissioner Goodell made a motion to accept the minutes as presented, seconded by Commissioner Ross.
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0.
The Littleton Energy Conservation Committee (LECC) attended the BOC meeting and was represented by Arwin Mitton (Chairperson), Ron Bolt (Secretary) and committee members Mary Boulanger, Peter Cooper, Jan Edick and Dann.
The LECC presented the BOC with a brief synopsis of the projects that they are considering getting more involved in:
1. Mr. Cooper briefed the BOC with regard to the warrant article that passed at the 2015 Town Meeting with regard to the replacement of older lighting fixtures in town owned facilities. Lite Tech (contractor/ consultant for the LECC) will soon be awarding contracts for several selected locations throughout town to complete the approved work.
2. Mr. Bolt stated that the Food Coop is interested and may install an electric car charging station on their property as this is in line with their business philosophy. The NH Department of Environmental Services has sponsored an initiative to align DC car charging stations along the I93 corridor throughout NH and has grant money available to defer some of the installation costs of an approved project.
Superintendent Considine stated that this idea was brought to the department’s attention last year by a concerned customer/citizen. He suggested that a charging station be installed in the parking area at the town building (Opera House) as it has good access to main street businesses. This customer was referred to the Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce, not aware of the outcome.
3. Ms. Mitton discussed repurposing the old town landfill by installing a large passive solar array. The energy produced could be sold back to the department through a Purchase Power Agreement (PPA) with the developer. The LECC is researching ways in which to accomplish this as there are several directions that the project could go.
Superintendent Considine stated that this site was reviewed a couple of years ago and at that time the developers proposed a PPA sale of energy to the department of about nine (9) cents per kilowatt-hour. The PPA price offered was twice the market price at that time and was not a viable alternative for the department as it would have caused an increase in wholesale power supply rates for all LWL customers.
Mr. Edick inquired about the State of NH Renewable Energy requirements for distribution companies. Superintendent Considine stated that NH municipal (5 total) are exempt from the requirement as the combine load of all the municipals are minimal as compare to the rest of the state.
4. Mr. Bolt also discussed LED street lighting and what was the best way to approach replacing and reducing the number of lights.
The BOC made it clear that any request to remove or relocate street lighting had to be made by the selectmen and that they are not opposed to having a safety study done to determine the proper location and the number of lights needed though the trend is that most people want more lighting not less.
5. Ms. Mitton stated that the LECC is researching the possibility of installing a large scale biomass project that would provide steam heating to the high school and town facilities and possibly main street businesses. One possible location would be in the Saranac River District Area.
Commissioner Ross stated that the LWL is not general opposed to any viable idea that makes good business sense and has solid economics to support the Commissioners making a sound business decision that was in the best interest of the LWL rate payers.
Commissioner Moore stated that the rate of return on any investment has to be a consideration before entering into any type of agreement and supporting a particular project that may impact the rate payers.
The LECC thanked the BOC for the opportunity to discuss their ideas with them and left the meeting at about 1:45 pm.
FINANCIAL DIRECTORS REPORT:
Mrs. Wilkins discussed a recent health care insurance proposal solicited by the department from the New England Employee Benefits Company. This proposal provided the department with a total of four (4) health insurance similar plans to compare. Changes to the New England Electrical Workers Benefits Fund (NEEWBF) coverage is expected that may dictate, force the department to seek another health care plan provider. The department has been enrolled with NEEWBF since 2004 and has always been an economically viable choice. The Department has received no official word to date as to the pending plan changes though rates increased by more than thirty (30) percent on June 1st after little notice given by NEWBF administrators of the increase in the rate.
SUPERINTENDENT/ GENERAL MANAGERS REPORT:
1. Repairs are scheduled for the week of July 13th to replace a sixty (60) foot section of the water main and replace a gate valve on Cottage Street near the I-93 over pass. The decision was made to replace this particular section due to deterioration of the outside of the pipe supposedly caused by either acidic/ aggressive soil condition or deficient casting of the iron pipe or a combination of both. There have been two (2) previous leaks in the same section of water main and the proximity of the repairs to the over pass make repair activities difficult.
2. The department’s policy with regard to the use of telephones and cellular (mobile) telephones was revised and redistributed to all employees. The revision was made in accordance with NH RSA 265 (Use of Mobile devices while driving) – “Hands Free Law” that took effect on
July 1, 2015. Department owned vehicles that operate with typically one (1) driver were provided with a hands free device (visor clip) for safety and operator convenience.
1. The department received the June 2015 Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auction proceeds in the amount of $27,766.60. Customers that have KWh (energy) consumption recorded in July 2015 will receive a rebate of $0.00442 per KWh annotated on their statement.
On average the typical residential household will see a refund of about $2.87 on their July 2015 statement; amounts will vary based on the customer’s actual consumption. In total the department has refunded more than $124,445 to LWL customers since the State of NH became a participant in the RGGI program.
2. In May the department applied for a US Rural Development (USRD) Predevelopment Planning Grant to fund proposed work on a master plan for the water system. Supposedly, according to the USRD, the department needs to reapply under the Town of Littleton and it is doubtful that the grant will be awarded if the department were to reapply as the department does not meet the financial “need” aspect of the planning grant.
The BOC agreed that USRD needs to return/deny the application and provide their rational to the department and the department will consider how to address their concerns.
Commissioner Goodell stated that if the department were to loose several key employees their institutional knowledge of what needs to happen with regard to water system would be lost. A good master plan would capture their knowledge of the system and be a useful planning document going forward.
Following some discussion Commissioner Goodell made a motion to go ahead with the water system master plan without USRD grant money and to award the Dufresne Group Consulting Engineers the contact in an amount not to exceed $44,000, seconded by Commissioner Ross.
Commissioner Ross and Commissioner Goodell voted in the affirmative and agreed that the motion be discussed personally, for clarity purposes, with Commissioner Moore before recording the final vote.
Commissioner Moore was contacted by Superintendent Considine and the USRD decision and Commissioner Goodell’s motion was discussed with him. Following some general discussion Commission Moore agreed with Commissioner Goodell’s motion and voted in favor of the motion.
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0.
Commissioner Goodell made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by
Meeting adjourned at 2:22 p.m.
The regularly scheduled Commissioner’s meeting is held twice monthly on the first and third Monday, at 1:00 p.m., in the Department’s conference room.