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 Tuesday, January 19, 2016 in the Littleton Water and Light Department (LWL) conference room. Present were Commissioner Ralph Ross, Commissioner Eddy Moore, Commissioner Perry Goodell, Financial Director Cheryl Wilkins, Operations Manager Richard Herrington and Superintendent Thomas Considine.
The minutes of the January 4, 2016 regularly scheduled Commissioners meeting were reviewed. Commissioner Moore made a motion to accept the minutes as presented, seconded by Commissioner Goodell.
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0.
CUSTOMER & PUBLIC CONCERNS:
A water customer may file a complaint against the department with the NH Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC) with regard to the department replacing a residential backflow preventer. The customer alleges that the department’s technician did not turn all the water valves back on once the repair was completed. Normally LWL technicians do not operate the customer’s equipment though in this particular situation the customer granted permission for the LWL technician to operate the valve to isolate the house. The customer claims that he had to contact a plumber to restore the feed to his hot water, which he claims was turned off by the LWL technician, which LWL contests. The customer was not satisfied with Superintendent Considine response and stated that he was going to contact the NHPUC.
FINANCIAL DIRECTORS REPORT:
Mrs. Wilkins reviewed the financial statements for the month ended November 2015 with the Commissioners. Several discrepancies as compared to budget were discussed and explained by Mrs. Wilkins. Mrs. Wilkins stated that it appears that the electric division will most likely finish the year (2015) in the red whereas the water division is projected to end the year (2015) on budget in the black.
The BOC discussed the cost of transmission services and its effect on the electric division’s margin. The BOC was in agreement that unless something changes a rate increase may be necessary at the end of the first quarter of 2016 to adjust the transmission service rate.
SUPERINTENDENT/ GENERAL MANAGERS REPORT:
1. A credit of about $5.84 per 1,000 kWh of energy consumed will show up on the department’s February 2016 invoice for all accounts that had energy usage in the prior month. The department received about $36,000 in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proceeds from the NHPUC to credit back to its retail customers. In total more than $205,000 has been returned to LWL’s retail customers since July 2014 through the State of NH participation of the RGGI cap and trade program.
2. The Department entered into an agreement with PSEG Energy for five (5) mW of capacity to hedge its projected wholesale demand starting in June 2019 – May 2024 at a cost of $7.35 per kW. The department has a total of fourteen (14) mW to hedge against the ISONE spot market in total capacity resources under contract. ISONE market prices will be set through the Forward Capacity Auction (FCA) number 10 on February 8, 2016 and are expected to be in the eight (8) to nine (9) dollar range.
3. Superintendent Considine and Mr. Herrington discussed a methodology for replacing a larger quantity of HPS street light with LEDs. If the department only replaced defective light fixtures through normal maintenance attrition (say 5-6 per year) very few LED fixtures would be added to the inventory as HPS fixture have a long maintenance free life. Superintendent Considine suggested that a bulk purchase of twenty (20) LED fixtures could be purchased and absorbed in the operating budget and should not have any adverse capital affects.
Mr. Herrington stated that they would begin by replacing the 70 watts HPS as they are the most prevalent in the system (more than 300 fixtures). A “by-street” methodical approach will be used to optimize installation expenses.
The estimated material costs are expected to be about $4,500 and installation costs would most likely be absorbed through maintenance T&D (previously budgeted), are estimate at about $10,200 and may vary depending on location and conditions found on the pole.
The town should realize and immediate drop in their street light expenses (of about 30% more or less). The department’s return on this investment will be measured through a reduction in future maintenance cost and wholesale demand capacity expenses (though unlikely) and will not be readily apparent for some time.
Following some discussion relative to the HPS street light replacement, the BOC agreed to a bulk purchase of twenty (20) LED Street lights and the installation approach as described to minimize the department’s installation costs.
4. The department has been comparing fuel (diesel and gasoline) costs between the State of NH fuel distribution and Stiles Fuel for the past several months as the states fuel site on the Dells Road has been closed. Initial comparisons show that the State of NH fuel is substantially more expensive per gallon than Stiles Fuel for both gasoline and diesel. The department will continue to monitor the cost at both sites before making a decision as to where to purchase its fleet fuel. On average the department spends more than $20,000 annually for its vehicle fuel.
GENERAL/ OTHER BUSINESS:
1. The BOC discussed an assessment to “Tag Out” for safety reasons the shop forklift truck that was recently inspected by W.D. Matthews Machinery Company. The inspection sheet listed several deficiencies that needed to be addressed to restore the lift to what they consider a safe operating condition. The fork lift is a 1989 Clark 2,500 pound capacity lift that the department purchased used in Dec 1998 for $7,900. The lift is used about five (5) to six (6) hours a month though used minimally this piece of equipment is necessary to conduct safe loading and offloading operations. The lift is being used with discretion until there is some resolution and a second opinion may be solicited.
Following some discussion the BOC agreed that as the lift is over twenty five (25) year old that the department needs to look into a replacement piece of equipment. After repairing which costs are expected to be extensive, you are still left with an tired old piece of equipment that’s at the end of its useful life.
2. The BOC reviewed and discussed the condition of LWL truck 501 which is a 2001 International boom bucket truck. Though not due for replacement until 2017 the lead time for replacement is at least 12 – 15 months. The department is suggesting that a request for proposal be solicited and the replacement processes begin immediately.
Note: This discussion came about as a direct result of the BOC previous discussions with regard to the department request to add a service bucket truck (cost estimated at $150,000) to the fleet. The timing of the request in relation to the age of truck 501 (expected replacement cost of $250,000) and the impact of the expected capital fund expenditure would be significant.
Commissioner Ross asked that the department look into a process, it available, that may inhibit the rusting in the fender well and along the welded seems for the replacement vehicle in the truck specifications.
The BOC was in agreement that the department could not sustain the capital impact of purchasing both pieces of equipment, and that it is critical to replace truck 501 at this time as the vehicle is approaching the end of its useful life. A new service truck though practical in some opinions is not necessary nor can its use economically justifiable. A purchase at this time of a new expensive piece of equipment may be perceived as an exorbitant expenditure in light of a pending rate increase.
Commissioner Goodell made a motion to allow the department to solicit an RFP to replace Truck 501 at this time, seconded by Commissioner Moore.
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0.
3. Commissioner Goodell asked what the status was with regard to the “Boil Water” notice issued by the Town of Lisbon.
Superintendent Considine stated that to his knowledge the Lisbon boil order is still in effect. The initial notice given by the Town of Lisbon was incorrect as their automated calling system message did not identify the Town of Lisbon in the context of the message. LWL front office was inundated with calls from customers and businesses late Friday (January 15, 2016) morning through that afternoon due to the message that caused a substantial amount of confusion. A second automated call was made by the Town of Lisbon correcting their previous oversight.
Commissioner Goodell made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0.
Meeting adjourned at 2:20 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.