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, March 28, 2016 in the Littleton Water and Light Department (LWL) conference room. Present were Commissioner Ralph Ross, Commissioner Perry Goodell, Financial Director Cheryl Wilkins and Superintendent Thomas Considine.
The minutes of the March 7, 2016 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.
CUSTOMER & PUBLIC CONCERNS:
Commissioner Ross requested that Superintendent Considine present the department’s justification for raising electric rates.
Superintendent Considine reviewed a short power point presentation and discussed the factors that are influencing the department’s decision to increase the electric rate at this time. The contributing factors to the department’s operating expense that are having the largest impact are costs that are associated with transmission services, wholesale power capacity reserves and declining energy sales since 2008. The department finished the 2015 operation year about $113,000 below breakeven. The department is expecting an additional loss of load associated with Hitchiner Manufacturing moving their Littleton operations that may or not be mitigated by any growth in the system. Other noteworthy points highlighted during the presentation were:
•The last electric rate increase was July 2008.
•Electric rates were reduced by about 11% in 2012.
•LWL has provided the community a stable rate during a time of economic recession.
•The proposed 2016 rate is about equal to the 2006 electric rates.
•Inflation costs over the past 10 years (2006-2016) have increased by about 16.5 % and LWL electric rate has remained flat during this period.
•Average impact to residential customers is expected to be about $ 5.00 per month, commercial customers impact will vary depending on their consumption though about an 8% impact is expected.
Following the briefing by Superintendent Considine Commissioner Ross solicited public comment and input with regard to the information presented and the proposed electric rate increase.
Mr. Bruce Hadlock asked when the implementation date was planned as he did not see it in the presentation.
Superintendent Considine highlighted the slide illustrating the proposed effective date of April 2016.
Mr. Hadlock asked the BOC to reconsider the implementation date so that residential and commercial customers would have time to adjust their budgets to account for the proposed rate increase. He suggested a July implementation date would afford customer time to react to the news that their electric bill is going up.
Following a period of back and forth discussion between Mr. Hadlock and the BOC with regard to LWL spending practices, staffing levels, the wholesale electric market, town taxes, and other topics including general LWL operations Mr. Hadlock excused himself from the meeting at about 2:00 p.m.
Mr. Darrin Wipperman, reporter for the Littleton Courier asked when the proposed rate increase would be voted on.
Commissioner Goodell stated that the rate increase was needed and that a formal vote would take place at the next regular meeting on Monday April 4, 2016. Mr. Wipperman excused himself from the meeting shortly after Commissioner Goodell’s answer.
FINANCIAL DIRECTORS REPORT:
Mrs. Wilkins reviewed the financial statements for the month ended January 2016 with the Commissioners. Several discrepancies as compared to budget were discussed and explained by Mrs. Wilkins.
Mrs. Wilkins advised the BOC that the department is gathering financial information in preparation for the year ended 2015 audit. The auditor is scheduled to be at LWL the week of April 4th to begin the reconciliation process.
SUPERINTENDENT/ GENERAL MANAGERS REPORT:
1. The department received three (3) bid proposals in regard to the request for quote that solicited a new/replacement bucket truck. LWL personnel are in the process of reviewing the specification of each bid vehicle. The apparent low bidder was Altec Industries at about $209,000. A recommended will be made at the new BOC meeting before the contract is awarded.
2. A credit estimate of $4.69 per 1,000 kWh of energy consumed will show up on the department’s April 2016 invoice for all accounts that had energy usage in this month. The department received a check in the amount of about $23,000 in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proceeds from the NHPUC to credit back to its retail customers.
3. The 2016 Consumer Confidence report will be included in the April 2016 statement and is already posted to the department’s website. The 2016 water quality report annotates all contaminates found as a result of system wide water testing for the year ended 2015. The distribution of this report is mandated under the federal Safe Water Drinking Act.
4. The NHPUC winter disconnect rules (moratorium on disconnection of a delinquent residential account between November 15th and March 31st) comes to an end on March 31st, 2016. Customers meeting the criterion for disconnection will receive a written termination notice and a courtesy computer generated phone reminder each month. During the winter months the color of the paper and language on the notice received by the customer changes (softens). As of March 31st both the language and written notice (pink paper is used) reverts and customers that do not address their delinquent account balance(s) may have their service terminated.
Commissioner Goodell made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by
The vote was in favor of the motion 2-0-0.
Meeting adjourned at 2:45 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.