2022 Annual Meeting Is June 14

83rd Annual Meeting of Members…Welcome Back!

We’re glad to welcome members back in-person to Annual Meeting, but you can attend online as well! All NHEC members are welcome to attend.

WHEN:
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
10 a.m.
(In-person registration begins at 9 a.m.; please RSVP here before the meeting)

WHERE:|
Merrill Place Conference Center on the campus of Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH

ONLINE:
If you wish to join us by Zoom, you must register here in advance of the meeting. Once your registration has been confirmed, you will receive an email link to the Annual Meeting URL, which you can bookmark and add to your calendar. All members will be in view and listen mode until we open up the meeting to address member questions.

 

 

Voting Opens in NHEC Board of Directors Election

PLYMOUTH, NH (May 10, 2022) – Voting is underway in the 2022 New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) Board of Directors election. A hallmark of the cooperative business model is self-governance and the democratic election of directors by the members they serve. NHEC members are again voting to elect their representatives on the organization’s board of directors.

This year, six candidates are running to fill four seats on the 11-member board of directors. All the candidates are NHEC members and were nominated by the NHEC Nominating Committee, an independent panel of members that reviews the qualifications of each candidate and recommends those it believes would best contribute to the successful operation of NHEC.

Seeking election in 2022 are nominated candidates Alana Albee of Center Tuftonboro, David Boyce of Moultonborough, Sharon Davis of Campton, John Goodrich of Littleton, Carolyn Kedersha of Melvin Village, and Thomas Mongeon of Rumney. NHEC members are receiving written statements from the candidates in support of their candidacies, along with a paper ballot. To save time, money and resources, NHEC encourages all members to vote securely online instead of returning a paper ballot. Each ballot mailing will include instructions for voting quickly and securely online.

NHEC members have until Wednesday, June 8, 2022 to return their completed paper ballot or cast their electronic ballot. Election results will be announced at the 83rd Annual Meeting of Members, to be held Tuesday, June 14th at 10 a.m. at the Merrill Place Conference Center on the campus of Plymouth State University. For the first time in two years, NHEC is welcoming members back in-person to the Annual Meeting. Members can also attend the Annual Meeting online. To register to attend the meeting online, please visit https://www.nhec.com/2022-annual-meeting/. All NHEC members are welcome to attend.

NHEC Board Approves Capital Credit Payments to Members

PLYMOUTH, NH – At its April 2022 meeting, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s (NHEC) Board of Directors reviewed the Co-op’s financial standing and approved the return of $4 million of equity to members. Current NHEC members will receive their portion of these equity payments, called capital credits, as a credit on their July 2022 electric bills. This is the second consecutive year NHEC will be returning capital credits to its current and former members.

NHEC is a nonprofit, rural electric cooperative, which means it is owned by the people and businesses it serves. When NHEC takes in more revenue than it spends in a given year, the Co-op builds equity. A key difference between nonprofit cooperatives, like NHEC, and for-profit utilities, is that cooperatives return this equity back to their member-owners.

The equity NHEC builds over time is used to fund capital projects, which keeps the electric distribution system safe and reliable, and helps keep electric rates affordable and stable. NHEC’s member-owners are allocated their portion of the equity generated each year based on their electric usage. Members’ accrued equity in NHEC is represented by capital credits that are accounted for in NHEC’s financial records and returned to members when the Co-op’s finances allow. Last year NHEC’s Board approved the Co-op’s first-ever capital credit retirement, returning nearly $4 million to current and former members.

“Our members are not customers, but owners of their cooperative,” said NHEC Board Chair Jeffrey Morrill. “Returning equity to members is a hallmark of the cooperative business model and we’re pleased to again be able to share the success of the Co-op with our members. Cooperatives are a reflection of the people and communities they serve. NHEC is financially strong because we have good management and members who use our services to create thriving communities that support us all.”

In July 2022, NHEC members who received electric service in the year 2021 will see credits on their electric bills reflecting the return of their capital credits. Former Co-op members will receive checks based upon their portion of equity accrued between the years 1982 – 1984.

Current and former NHEC members also have the opportunity to donate their capital credit payments to the NHEC Foundation or Project Care. Project Care and the NHEC Foundation are nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations that provide assistance to Co-op members having difficulty paying their bills and support local community nonprofit organizations.

Additional information about capital credits and how members can donate their payments can be found at www.nhec.com/capital-credits.

NHEC Board Appoints New Director to Fill Vacancy

PLYMOUTH, NH – The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s (NHEC) Board of Directors has appointed a new member to fill the vacancy created by a recent resignation.

Harry Viens of Center Harbor was voted by the Board to fill the vacancy that was created when Daniel Senie of Charlestown resigned on March 23. Because the vacancy on the Board occurred within 100 days of the next annual meeting of the members, which is scheduled for June 14, the NHEC bylaws require the Board to vote to fill the vacancy by appointment. Mr. Viens will serve on the Board until the next annual meeting of the members, which will be held in June 2023.

Mr. Viens had previously served three terms on the NHEC Board from 2010 – 2020.

NHEC Sets Summer Power Rates

PLYMOUTH, NH (April 6, 2022) – New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s (NHEC) Board of Directors has approved changes to the Co-op Power rate and Regional Access Charge, which will result in an overall bill decrease for most residential members of about 4%, or $5.06 per month. The new rates will take effect with bills rendered on or after May 1, 2022.

The Co-op Power portion of members’ bills will decrease from the current winter rate of 9.8 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to 9.6 cents per kWh for the summer. The Co-op Power Charge includes the cost that NHEC pays to purchase electricity from the wholesale electricity market. The cost of this power is directly passed through to members who have not chosen to purchase electricity from a competitive supplier. The Co-op Power Charge does not fund NHEC’s operations. Last May, NHEC set its summer rate at 6.5 cents per kWh.

The May 1 rate changes will also include a 23% decrease in the Regional Access Charge portion of members’ bills. The Regional Access Charge includes the costs NHEC pays transmission companies to deliver electricity to its distribution system. The rate also includes the state-required refund of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proceeds. As with the Co-op Power Charge, the costs NHEC incurs from transmission companies are passed directly through to members.

“The Co-op Power Charge reduction for the summer period is not as low as we’ve seen in years past,” said Brian Callnan, NHEC’s Vice President of Power Resources & Access. “The primary driver is natural gas prices remaining high throughout the summer, which is the fuel used to generate nearly half of the electricity in New England. The United States exports an increasing amount of natural gas. As a global commodity, natural gas prices are impacted by international events and markets. As with other fuels, high natural gas prices are leading to higher electricity costs this summer.”

For more information about NHEC rates, charges and fees, please visit our website at https://www.nhec.com/rates-tariffs/.

NHEC to Expand NH Broadband Fiber-optic Network to 32 Grafton County Towns

PLYMOUTH, NH (March 1, 2022) – New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s (NHEC) Board of Directors has voted to move forward with a major expansion of the Co-op’s broadband efforts. The Board authorized NH Broadband, the Co-op’s internet subsidiary, to proceed with construction of fiber-optic networks that will provide high-speed internet service to nearly 17,000 homes and businesses in 32 towns across Grafton County, one of the most underserved areas of the state. This project does not require bonding or other financial commitment by the towns.

Grafton County has a high concentration of areas that do not have access to broadband internet. Last year, NHEC secured funding to help provide these unserved areas with fiber-optic, high-speed internet service through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction. NHEC’s expansion in Grafton County will focus on reaching these unserved members.

NHEC is moving forward with the planning and development of its Grafton County expansion to meet its members’ critical need for high-speed internet as quickly as possible. While work gets underway, NHEC will be pursuing grant opportunities that the State of New Hampshire will make available in the near future from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The Grafton County project will help bridge the digital divide for residents in some of the most underserved areas of the state, with the goal of completing construction in 18 months.

“This expansion is a milestone for rural broadband access in New Hampshire,” said NHEC Board Chair Jeffrey Morrill. “Just two years ago we were in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic and thousands of our members were quite literally cut off from a world that went virtual nearly overnight. It speaks to the value of member-owned cooperatives like NHEC that can respond quickly and effectively to the needs of its members. I’m proud of the work NHEC and the Board have done to lead the effort for universal broadband access in New Hampshire.”

“High-speed internet has been a long time coming to rural New Hampshire,” said NH Broadband Chair and NHEC Board member Leo Dwyer. “This expansion of NH Broadband’s network will connect thousands of NHEC members to an essential service in a part of the state that really needs it. It’s what we and our members envisioned when they asked us to provide broadband internet service in 2020. In many ways, it mirrors the Co-op’s drive to bring light and power to the same areas more than 80 years ago.”

NH Broadband’s fiber-optic networks are capable of providing upload and download speeds in excess of 1 Gigabit per second to meet NHEC’s members’ needs today and into the future. The service will be offered to NHEC members in the following Grafton County towns:

Ashland, Bath, Benton, Bridgewater, Bristol, Campton, Canaan, Dorchester, Easton, Ellsworth, Grafton, Groton, Hanover, Haverhill, Hebron, Holderness, Landaff, Lisbon, Littleton, Lyman, Monroe, New Hampton, Orange, Orford, Piermont, Plymouth, Rumney, Sugar Hill, Thornton, Warren, Wentworth, Woodstock.

One of the NHEC members looking forward to receiving service said NH Broadband’s expansion is good news for rural residents across the state.

“I respect and appreciate the responsiveness of the Co-op to this member initiative,” said Richard Knox of New Hampshire Broadband Advocates, a grassroots group that has advocated for expanded broadband access in the state. “It signifies that NHEC means business when it says it wants to provide this essential service to rural towns overlooked by other internet providers.”

In 2020, with support from the Connecting New Hampshire – Emergency Broadband Expansion Program, NHEC constructed fiber-optic networks that provided over 1,000 of its members high-speed internet access in Lempster, Colebrook, Stewartstown, and Clarksville. In 2021, NHEC began the construction of fiber-optic networks in Acworth and Sandwich, which will make broadband available to another 1,800 homes and businesses. The Sandwich and Acworth projects are supported by a grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC), and federal funding that Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Congressman Chris Pappas are working to secure. NHEC also anticipates applying for funds from ARPA.

In this early stage of planning, service availability dates by town are not yet available for Grafton County towns included in the network expansion. However, NH Broadband will be posting construction updates and other news on its website: www.NHBroadband.com and on its Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/NHBroadband.