What if local communities join together to purchase cheaper electricity and ensure a more sustainable energy future?
Community Power Becomes Law in New Hampshire
On October 1, 2019 New Hampshire Senate Bill 286 became law which allows for Community Power purchases by municipalities for their residents. Other states and municipality purchasers have called this type of purchasing Community Choice Aggregation. Whatever name is used, this new law can be an energy game-changer for citizens and communities in New Hampshire. Among a long list of potential regional and local benefits, it allows communities to organize and collectively control the purchase of electrical power at potentially much less expensive rates.
What is Community Power
NH SB286 went into effect in NH October 2019. “Under a community power program, local governments can procure and provide electricity to their residents and businesses on a competitive basis. By bypassing outdated regulations and legacy technologies, community power programs can harness private sector innovation to lower costs for their customers and provide other energy services. Electric distribution utilities continue to deliver the electricity over their poles and wires.”
What are some Benefits of Community Power?
“Programs vary from ones enabling basic contracts for competitive energy supply… [that lower residents energy costs] to more robust programs driving power sector innovation by crafting diverse portfolios of energy resources, deploying new renewables and energy storage, and enabling communities to play a more active role in energy markets…”
How can a Community Start this Process?
Town selectmen or city council appoint a committee to create a community power plan. Then, after approval of the community power programs, all residents not already on competitive supply are automatically enrolled, but can choose to switch back to their regulated utility or to another supplier. Multiple towns and even a county can bring together towns to join forces to create community power plans.
New Hampshire Resources
There have been some great articles written about how Community Power can be enacted in NH to go beyond the basic contract model for aggregated power such as proposed by CPNH (Community Power New Hampshire) – Check Out
NH Municipal Association’s Article on CPNH a version of Community Power that would enable not just aggregated purchasing of power but also other benefits to residents and the community.
Read more about CPNH in Green Energy Times
Other Resources from States with Community Aggregated Energy Development
Other states have been working on community choice aggregated power purchasing for years – and granite staters can learn from them. Below are links to resources on community choice purchasing (CCP) reports from nonprofits and states around our nation. These municipalities have used CCP to create local distributed energy, increase local jobs, and take control of their electricity mix.