Inside this Edition of the Freedom Energy Logistics Muni Minute
Freedom Energy Logistics | September 2022
The State of New Hampshire Participates in Hydro Net Metering Program
On August 29, of this year Freedom Energy announced that the State of New Hampshire has signed on to participate in the Hydro Net Metering Program with the Rolfe Canal project owned by Briar Hydro. In addition to supporting clean power and local hydropower generation, the State expects to receive more than $100,000 annually over the 5-year term.
The State’s participation in the program became possible under the recently amended HB1258. Freedom Energy’s CEO Bart Fromuth advocated for the State’s eligibility as a group net metering participant. Under the amended bill, the NH legislature expanded Group Net Metering participants to include the State and the original participants, including municipal entities such as towns, cities, school districts, charter schools, and counties.
“Freedom Energy is committed to advancing renewable generation in the state while supporting incentives to benefit all our local communities,” stated Bart Fromuth, CEO of Freedom Energy. “As the administrator of net metering programs, Freedom Energy is delighted to be able to extend the program benefits and incentives to the State and local municipalities, and we encourage all NH municipal clients to evaluate the program.”
The DOER’s approved hydro renewable energy facilities, including the Rolfe Canal project, can now share the proceeds from their surplus electricity generation with NH municipal electric utility account holders, including the State, as off-takers without requiring physical connection or make any changes to their existing electric service.
The State has worked with Freedom Energy in other capacities over the years, most recently with Freedom Energy serving Cannon Mountain and other accounts on a real-time program.
Community Choice Aggregation Could Offer Relief to NH Ratepayers
Anyone watching the news lately cannot help but take note of the historic escalation in our domestic and global energy markets. Eversource and Liberty customers got a front-row seat for that volatility last month when it was announced that residential rates were going to a whopping 22 cents per kilowatt-hour. To put that in context, 22 cents per kwh is over three times more than what ratepayers were charged in 2020.
Only about one in five ratepayers in New Hampshire buy their power from a third-party supplier, and that percentage has flatlined since meaningful residential choice was first offered in the state back in 2011. Inconsistent savings, supplier-friendly contract terms, bland price offerings and exorbitant out-of-contract/holdover rates have kept most New Hampshire ratepayers at bay, opting to stay with their utility supplier. What are customers to do now that the cost of buying from their utility has forced them into a market that they have previously been skeptical of?
Fortunately, the NH Department of Energy just approved rules for community choice aggregation, and the timing could not be better. In 2019, Governor Sununu signed into law a program whereby towns and cities can pool their ratepayers into large buying groups for the purposes of attracting lower rates and more favorable contract terms for residential ratepayers. Our neighbors in Massachusetts have been utilizing community choice for nearly a decade. The results have been impressive with consistent savings, more dynamic pricing options, renewable offerings, no “out of contract” rates and no early termination fees. The best part is that the CCA program is completely voluntary, so anyone that does not want to be involved can still choose their own supplier or remain with their utility. With the rules now in place, expect to see the first community choice aggregations to launch in late 2022 and early 2023. If your town or city has not yet investigated these programs, contact your local officials today and encourage them to investigate the opportunity. With rates as high as 22 cents per kwh, they cannot afford not to.
This article was published in the NH Business Review on 8.26.2022.
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Friday, October 14, 2022
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Wednesday, November 16 -17, 2022
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