Full Restoration Expected Tonight from March 29 Wind Storm

PLYMOUTH, NH (9 A.M.) – After a productive overnight, NHEC and contract line crews have restored power to another 5,000 members. Just under 2,400 members remain without power at the time of this update, down from a peak of 16,000 at noon yesterday.

Work is continuing today and will focus on the Raymond area and the Lakes Region, where nearly all remaining outages are located. We expect to be fully restored by tonight, with the exception of locations that are still inaccessible or require further repair by the property owner.

Please be safe in areas with recent line and tree work – don’t go near a downed wire, or a fallen tree that’s in contact with one! Report unsafe electrical conditions: 1.800.343.6432.

Multi-day Recovery Expected from March 29 Wind Storm

PLYMOUTH, NH (2 P.M.) – As the NHEC electric system continues to take damage due to high winds, line crews are focused today on public safety and damage assessment.

More than 250 outages have been reported since daybreak (3/29) and fallen trees have closed many NH roads, including major highways like Route 101 in the Raymond area. Joined by cutting crews from several tree service companies, line crews have been responding to multiple calls to open roads and make sure damage scenes are free of electrical hazards.

This will likely be a multi-day restoration effort. Dozens of additional out-of-state line crews are arriving today to assist. Restoration times for current outages will not be determined in most cases until overnight or tomorrow (3/30). Winds are expected to peak this afternoon and die down overnight, giving crews the opportunity to focus on rebuilding the damaged system.

Unfortunately, if you are without power at this time, you should expect to remain without power overnight. Please report outages to 1.800.343.6432.

 

NHEC Announces 18% Reduction in Electric Supply Rate

PLYMOUTH, NH (January 27, 2021) – New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s (NHEC) Board of Directors has unanimously approved an 18% reduction to the Co-op Power portion of members’ bills effective February 1, 2021.

The change will result in an overall bill decrease of over $7 for the average residential member using 500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month.

NHEC typically adjusts its Co-op Power rate in November and May every year, however for the second straight year the Co-op is making an out of cycle reduction to its energy service rate. Co-op Power reflects the cost NHEC pays to purchase electricity from the New England power market on behalf of its members. The price NHEC pays for this power is directly passed through to NHEC members who do not purchase electricity from a competitive supplier.

The Co-op Power rate was set by NHEC in November 2020 for the winter period based on market forecasts. Since that time the market price of electricity has steadily decreased in New England, below what was forecast, allowing NHEC to procure electricity for its members at a lower cost than anticipated. NHEC is adjusting its Co-op Power rate outside of the normal cycle to reflect the lower than projected market costs. This immediate adjustment will provide the benefit of these lower market prices back to members as soon as possible.

Several factors have contributed to the lower than expected market prices in New England, including the mild temperatures this winter. Temperature is closely linked to the price of electricity, as it drives the demand for more energy during the cold, dark months of winter, and hot, humid summer months.

As a result of the Board of Directors’ vote, NHEC’s Co-op Power rate will drop from 7.8¢ per kWh to 6.4¢ per kWh. NHEC’s members will see the benefits from this rate reduction beginning with their February bills.

“As a member-owned cooperative, NHEC is able to react quickly to changes in the electricity market and pass those savings back to our members,” said Steve Camerino, President and CEO of NHEC. “Many of our members have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that moving quickly to reduce rates and pass savings on to them will help ease the financial burden they may be facing during this challenging time.”

NHEC members receiving Co-op Power do not need to take any action to receive the new rate. The reduction is only available to NHEC members. NHEC does not call its members or the customers of other utilities to enroll in Co-op Power, so members of the public receiving any such call should be careful not to provide any personal or financial information.

Feb. 4 Deadline for Nominating Committee Candidates

PLYMOUTH – Members of the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Co-op) interested in being considered for nomination to the Board of Directors should submit their material to the Nominating Committee by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 4, 2021.  More information is available on NHEC’s web site at www.nhec.com.  “The Co-op seeks qualified members with diverse personal, professional and geographical backgrounds,” says Steve Camerino, President/CEO at the Co-op.  “NHEC is a member-owned, non-profit organization, and serving on the board of directors is one of the ways members can have a direct impact on how this democratically controlled organization is run.  It is an important and rewarding job.”

Board members are elected to three-year terms.  Four of the 11 seats are up for election this year.  Election ballots will be sent to all members in May.  Those elected will be seated at the Annual Meeting of Members, Wednesday, June 16, 2021.

The Nominating Committee meets numerous times to review the applications and interview candidates for the Board of Directors.  This year’s meetings and interviews will be conducted remotely via Zoom.  After completing the process, the Committee nominates a slate of candidates to be included on the ballot.  The candidates selected will be identified on the ballot as having been nominated by the Nominating Committee.

If you or someone you know are interested in applying, contact Sharon Yeaton at 603-536-8801 or yeatons@nhec.com for a candidate packet.

NHEC Celebrates Start of Broadband Internet Service

NHEC Celebrates Start of Broadband Internet Service

LEMPSTER, NH – In the same town where eighty-one years ago New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) began its mission to electrify rural New Hampshire, a small gathering of Co-op officials and guests marked the start of a new essential service being provided by NHEC – broadband Internet.

WATCH EVENT VIDEO

Thanks to the rapid construction of two fiber optic networks, nearly 900 NHEC members in four towns – Lempster, Clarksville, Colebrook and Stewartstown – now have access to high-speed Internet, that will provide service at upload/download speeds as high as 1 gigabit per second.

These initial broadband projects were supported by a $6.7 million grant from the State’s Connecting New Hampshire Emergency Broadband Program, and are the Co-op’s first steps towards its goal of ensuring all its members have access to the high-speed Internet service they need.

“I would like to thank the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative for partnering with the State to bring broadband to the communities of Colebrook, Clarksville, Stewartstown and Lempster. Nearly 900 homes and businesses will now have access to high-speed internet. My administration will continue to pursue opportunities to connect underserved communities in our State,” said New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu in a written statement.

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen noted NHEC’s history in a statement delivered to the Co-op Board of Directors and staff.

“Echoing the importance of rural electrification 80 years ago, broadband internet is similarly an essential driver of economic development and competitiveness.  From its first pole set in Lempster in 1939 to right now, the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative has brought the future to its members.  This bold venture is crucial for telemedicine, virtual learning and the online business activity so vital during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Shaheen wrote.

Joining NHEC and town officials, business partners and supporters at the December 15 outdoor gathering was Frank Edelblut, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education, who emphasized the critical importance of broadband Internet to New Hampshire students, many of whom are struggling in the absence of broadband service to keep up with online schooling in the COVID-19 era.

“Projects like this are going to make an important difference for our communities, and particularly our rural communities,” Edelblut said. “By bringing high-speed, high-capacity Internet into these communities, what we’ve really done is open up opportunities for the citizens and students of New Hampshire. Not only are they able to find more efficient, effective ways to access their education, we are opening up worlds to them through access to high-speed broadband Internet.”

Philip Tirrell, Chairman of the Lempster Board of Selectmen, stressed the importance of Internet connectivity to residents of rural Sullivan and Coos counties where the first NHEC members are receiving service.

“This year has been a change for the entire country,” he said. “Our students are working remotely every Wednesday, many of them without adequate internet coverage, and having a difficult time trying to participate…so today is historic for us. It will help launch us into everything this town needs for the future.”

NHEC Board Chair Tom Mongeon welcomed the arrival of broadband service as a “historic milestone” for members, who like their predecessors in 1939, had been bypassed for service by the existing providers. He also commended NHEC members for engaging with their cooperative and letting the Board know that they wanted NHEC to do more to provide broadband access.

“Our members are at the heart of all that we do as a cooperative and we would not be here today without your continued encouragement for us to do more to provide this essential service,” Mongeon said. “We hope you’ll continue to make your voice heard.”

The completion of NHEC’s initial broadband project required the cooperation and support of numerous partners, all of whom worked under tight deadlines to have service available to members before December 15, 2020, as required by the terms of the state of NH grant. NHEC President/CEO Steve Camerino cited the efforts of Tilson Tech, as well as Mission Broadband, Granite State Communications, and the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative as key to the project’s success.

“Bringing this project from conception to completion in only six months was an incredible feat, and took the herculean efforts of an entire team,” Camerino said.

NHEC Broadband Executive Robert Cruickshank, hired recently to manage the Co-op’s broadband efforts, said NHEC would be working closely with towns, the state and federal government, contractors, and existing telecommunications providers as it builds out its broadband service. He said NHEC will continue to seek out federal and state funding for construction and praised the efforts of town governments and broadband advisory committees, many of whom have been advocating for increased access to broadband Internet for years.

“Our entry into broadband Internet isn’t just good news, it’s essential news, especially as we ramp down from all the pandemic activities that have kept us so cloistered. Broadband clearly is a service that’s on par with electricity and water, and we’re proud to be able to bring that to our communities,” said Cruickshank.

Eighty-one years ago this month, a newspaper account reported the festivities in Lempster that marked the start of NHEC’s electric service to rural New Hampshire. Leo Dwyer, NHEC Director and Chair of the Board’s Broadband Committee, noted that more than 300 people marched down Lempster Street to the beat of a 23-piece band to witness the setting of the first NHEC pole in a field belonging to dairyman and NHEC co-founder Fred Barton.

“It is only fitting that NHEC Broadband begins here in Lempster, as one day, in the not-too distant future, this new network will expand to be as widespread and integral to our rural communities as the electric system which grew from Fred’s field,” Dwyer said.

NHEC is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative serving 85,000 homes and businesses in 115 New Hampshire communities. To view a video of the December 15 event and for updates on NHEC’s broadband efforts please check our Broadband page. 

 

Welcome New Member – Cathedral Ledge Distillery!

Welcome New Member – Cathedral Ledge Distillery!

With modern energy efficiency built into its classic timber frame construction, the new Cathedral Ledge Distillery will soon be lifting spirits in North Conway!

The organic “grain to glass” distillery has worked closely with NHEC to identify and pursue energy efficiency opportunities, as well as the incentives that have made them more affordable to install.

“They’ve been a good sounding board,” said Cathedral Ledge owner Christopher Burk of his experience working with NHEC Commercial Accounts administrators Chelsea Smith and Joe Lajewski. “There are a lot of options when you’re building new, it requires some pre-planning and that’s where NHEC helped tie it together.”

Burk said NHEC’s technical assistance early in the building design process was important. Working with building engineers Resilient Buildings Group of Concord, NH, NHEC provided analysis of various energy efficiency measures from the building shell to the distilling process.

“This technical assistance early in the process was critical and it’s what we really want members to know,” said NHEC’s Joe Lajewski. “We can be most effective in helping members early in the building process. Changes to key energy systems are difficult to make once construction documents are finalized.”

Distilling is an energy-intensive process, Burk explained, requiring lots of thermal energy followed by rapid cooling. To maximize the building’s efficiency, energy recovery tanks were installed underground, capturing hot water from the distilling process and circulating it through the radiant floor heating in the winter. In the building’s retail area and tasting room, highly-efficient heat pumps supplement the radiant floor heat in winter while providing cooling and dehumidification in summer.

Other energy efficiency features of Cathedral Ledge Distillery include:

  • 10-inch poly insulation beneath timber frame exterior (beyond code)
  • High-efficiency propane boiler
  • All LED lighting
  • Dark Sky-compliant outdoor lighting w/photo-sensitive dimmers

The business, located at 3340 White Mountain Highway in North Conway, also features two Level 2 Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations on-site for customer use.

LEARN MORE ABOUT NHEC INCENTIVES FOR COMMERCIAL EV CHARGERS!

Burk says he’s aiming to open to the public before the end of the year. Pallets of organic grain and empty glass bottles are awaiting the distillery’s first run of vodka and gin.

“We’re so close I can taste it,” he said.

____________________________________________________________

 BUILDING NEW? MAJOR RENOVATION OR EXPANSION?

Call the NHEC Commercial Accounts team BEFORE you build! 

Chelsea Smith
Commercial Accounts Administrator
603.536.8855; smithc@nhec.com

  • Energy needs and rate analysis
  • Guidance on available NHEC incentives
  • SmartHub Energy Management

 

Joe Lajewski, C.E.M.
Energy Solutions Program Administrator
603.536.8663; lajewskij@nhec.com

 

  • Identify energy efficiency opportunities and technologies
  • Guidance on NHEC program incentives to defray costs
  • Assistance with incentive applications