The Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire is a nonprofit that is trying to get enough cities and towns to buy their electricity together, bypassing the utilities (for energy but not transmission – there’s no getting around that).
The select board in Hanover has decided to join and neighboring Lebanon may follow suit, reports the Valley News (story here). They’re trying to line up some of the state’s big players, like Nashua or some county governments.
Lebanon Assistant Mayor Clifton Below said the coalition is based on similar groups in Massachusetts, Vermont and California that allow municipalities to procure electricity for residents and businesses through the open market.
Below, a former public utilities commissioner, worked over the last 18 months with consultants and officials from neighboring towns to get the coalition started, following on the heels of a 2019 state law that opened the door to municipal aggregation.
Community power, he said, could lead to several cost-saving initiatives. For instance, the city could choose to buy from a supplier offering lower prices, or it could implement newer, more dynamic ways of calculating bills, such as “real time” pricing that would offer lower rates for running a dishwasher overnight, when the demand for power is less.
The Lebanon City Council voted unanimously at their meeting on 2/3 to authorize the City Manager to enter into the Joint Powers Agreement to create the Community Power Coalition of NH. We look forward to seeing which community will be next.