Voting Opens in NHEC Board Election

PLYMOUTH, NH (May 12, 2021) – Voting is underway in the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) annual Board of Directors election. NHEC members vote each year on the organization’s Board of Directors. This year NHEC members are voting to fill four seats on NHEC’s Board of Directors.

NHEC members have until Thursday, June 10, 2021 to return their completed paper ballot or cast their electronic ballot via a secure, online portal. Election results will be announced at the 82nd Annual Meeting of Members, to be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Due to ongoing restrictions on public gatherings, the annual meeting will be conducted online, with no physical location. To register to attend the online meeting, please visit https://www.nhec.com/2021-annual-meeting/.  All NHEC members are welcome to attend and will be able to interact with presenters.

Six candidates are seeking election this year to four seats on NHEC’s 11-member Board of Directors. All six candidates were selected by the NHEC Nominating Committee, which reviews the qualifications of each candidate and recommends those it feels would best contribute to the successful operation of NHEC.

This year’s candidates selected by the Nominating Committee include Brenda Boisvert of Campton, Edward French of Raymond, John Goodrich of Littleton, Jeffrey Morrill of Holderness, Carla Muskat of Center Sandwich and Daniel Senie of Charlestown. NHEC members are receiving written statements from the candidates in support of their candidacies, along with a ballot. All members will have the opportunity to vote online instead of returning a paper ballot, using unique login codes provided in their ballot mailing.

NHEC Board Approves First Capital Credit Payments to Members

PLYMOUTH, NH – For the first time in New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s (NHEC) 82-year history, the company will begin returning a portion of its equity back to current and former members. Current NHEC members will receive their portion of these payments, called capital credits, as a direct bill credit later this summer.

NHEC is a not-for-profit, 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 that is used to fund capital projects, which keep 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 are returned to members when the Co-op’s finances allow.

At its April meeting, NHEC’s Board of Directors carefully reviewed the organization’s financial standing and determined the Co-op can begin returning capital credits to members without negatively impacting its finances. The Board authorized the return of nearly $4 million of equity back to NHEC’s members, beginning in July 2021.

“Cooperatives are different than other organizations, we exist only to serve our member-owners,” said NHEC Board Chair Tom Mongeon, “and returning equity back to them is a tangible example of that difference. Because of the financial stability that NHEC has achieved over the years, we expect to be able to return equity to our members on a regular basis as we go forward.”

“This is a significant milestone for the Co-op and our members,” said NHEC President and CEO Steve Camerino. “Returning capital credits is one of the fundamental tenets of a nonprofit cooperative. It has taken years of careful management to reach the point where we can return equity to our member-owners.  I want to recognize the efforts of all NHEC employees today and over the last several decades in bringing us to this significant point in our history.”

In July 2021, NHEC members who received electric service in the year 2020 will see credits on their electric bills reflecting the return of their first capital credits. Past Co-op members will receive checks based upon their portion of equity accrued between the years 1971 – 1982. The Co-op’s goal is to continue to return capital credits to members on a regular basis. Each year, the NHEC Board of Directors will review the Co-op’s finances and determine whether to return additional capital credits at that time.

For additional information, please visit www.nhec.com/capital-credits.

NHEC Announces Summer Rates

PLYMOUTH, NH (April 30, 2021) – New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s (NHEC) Board of Directors has approved rate changes that will result in a 1% total bill increase for most residential Co-op members.

The Co-op Power rate and Regional Access Charge are both increasing by 1%, effective May 1. 2021. The Co-op Power rate 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 Regional Access Charge reflects the cost NHEC pays transmission companies to have high voltage power delivered to its distribution system. This charge also includes a credit from revenue associated with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

The changes to the Co-op Power rate and Regional Access Charge will add an average of 60 cents to the monthly bill of a typical residential member using 500 kWh of electricity per month.

The May 1, 2021 rate changes will result in an average residential bill that is 2.9% higher than the same period in 2020. In February, NHEC reduced the Co-op Power rate to pass regional electricity market savings back to members as quickly as possible.

Click here for NHEC rates, charges and fees.

NHEC Hosts Vice President Kamala Harris for Broadband Listening Session

NHEC Hosts Vice President Kamala Harris for Broadband Listening Session

PLYMOUTH, NH – Today, United States Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Plymouth headquarters of New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) to discuss the Co-op’s efforts to expand high-speed internet access to rural New Hampshire and highlight federal funding opportunities in the American Jobs Plan to support future investments.

Vice President Harris was joined by United States Senator Maggie Hassan, and met with NHEC representatives and Lempster Select Board Chair Phil Tirrell. Last year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and appeals from its members, NHEC secured two grants from the Connecting New Hampshire Emergency Broadband Expansion Program. Those grants supported the construction of fiber-optic networks in Lempster, Colebrook, Stewartstown and Clarksville. Through its subsidiary NH Broadband, NHEC is now providing nearly 1,000 previously unserved members with access to high-speed internet.

Recalling NHEC’s mission to provide electricity to rural New Hampshire some 80 years ago, Vice President Harris encouraged the same spirit in extending rural access to broadband internet.

“In 1939 that pole was built and it’s still there,” she said, referring to the Co-op’s first electric pole set in Lempster, NH 82 years ago, “and why we’re here today is because of what you have been doing in this co-op.”

Part of the American Jobs Plan includes a proposed $100 billion in spending to increase access to broadband internet, Harris said.

“It’s the same thing that our country decided to do in 1936, saying let’s get electricity to everybody, and rural America should not be left out of that priority…This really is an incredible moment in our history. Not unlike what our country did with electricity, we can do with broadband, so let’s get it done.”

NHEC’s Board of Directors has adopted a goal of ensuring that all Co-op members have access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet. NHEC is working to expand its current fiber optic networks, and identify additional funding opportunities and strategic partners.

“Thank you Vice President Harris for coming to Plymouth and putting a spotlight on the need for rural internet access,” said Tom Mongeon, Chair of NHEC’s Board of Directors. “It is encouraging to see attention being giving to the needs of our members at the highest levels of government. NHEC exists to serve our members and we are working hard to ensure that they have access to the high-speed internet they need.”

Steve Camerino, NHEC’s President and CEO, highlighted the Co-op’s work to provide broadband access to its members and stressed that electric cooperatives are ideally suited to help bridge the rural digital divide.

“We were honored to host Vice President Harris and appreciate her taking the time to learn more about NHEC and our work to expand broadband,” said Camerino. “Access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet service is critical to our members and the communities we serve. Federal funding is vital to support our efforts, and it is exciting to hear about the opportunities to expand rural broadband in the American Jobs Plan.”

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.