NHEC Hires Robert Cruickshank to Head Broadband Effort

PLYMOUTH, NH (November 19, 2020) – New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) Board Chair Tom Mongeon is pleased to announce the hiring of Robert Cruickshank to lead NHEC’s efforts to ensure its members have access to world-class high-speed Internet service.

Cruickshank brings a wide range of broadband experience to NHEC, having worked as a senior executive for several telecommunications companies, including Vice President of Broadband Internet Access at CableLabs, where he led the team that created and certified the DOCSIS® world standard cable modem. He also served as Vice President of Engineering and interim Chief Technology Officer of Road Runner High Speed Online, where he was responsible for the design of broadband networks and data centers across the United States that tripled Road Runner’s business annually.

Cruickshank was also an Operations Architect and Senior Vice President of Customer Data, Information and Solutions at Cablevision Systems in Long Island, New York. In addition, Cruickshank has numerous patents in transactive energy management, telecommunications network management, and customer experience management. Most recently, he worked at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Cruickshank received his Ph.D. in Architectural Engineering from the University of Colorado and Master and Bachelor of Science Degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

“We are excited to have Robert join the NHEC team to lead our broadband efforts,” said Mongeon. “His experience and knowledge will be invaluable as NHEC accelerates forward to achieve our goal of ensuring all members and communities have access to the high-speed Internet service they need.”

“Just as important as food, water, and energy for many of our members, broadband is essential for communications and transforms how we live, educate, work, and play,” said Cruickshank. “I’m honored to lead the NHEC broadband team in advancing community livelihoods, resiliency, and sustainability.”

NHEC is embarking on a rapid fiber optic network build-out across nearly 40,000 utility poles and is working around the clock to ensure all its members will have access to affordable, reliable high-speed Internet as soon as possible in the years ahead. The Co-op was awarded a grant from the Connecting New Hampshire Emergency Broadband Fund to construct state-of-the-art fiber networks in Lempster, Colebrook, Stewartstown, and Clarksville, to provide the best Internet access available anywhere to over 900 currently unserved members. With hundreds of miles of newly installed fiber, these initial projects will be completed during the holidays and represent NHEC’s first steps towards its broader goal of ubiquitous broadband availability. In September, NHEC members voted overwhelmingly to amend the Co-op’s bylaws to give the organization’s Board of Directors greater flexibility to pursue grant opportunities and forge strategic partnerships. For more information and all the latest on NHEC broadband, please visit www.NHEC.com/broadband.

About New Hampshire Electric Cooperative

NHEC is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative serving 85,000 homes and businesses in 115 New Hampshire communities.

Pilot Project Aims to Reduce Outage Times

Pilot Project Aims to Reduce Outage Times

An electrical device on power lines and poles.

Using technology like this Viper recloser, NHEC is reducing the time it takes to restore power.

With the application of advanced engineering and communication technologies in the field, NHEC is reducing the time it takes to restore power outages.

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, or SCADA, is making it possible for an employee in our Plymouth Control Center to safely do in a few minutes what would normally take a lineworker an hour or more to do in the field.

NHEC has long had the ability to remotely monitor and control the flow of power within its 45 substations, but a pilot project underway this year is providing that same control on smaller circuits outside the substations, where the majority of outages occur.

In practical terms, that means the NHEC Control Center, working with field crews on the scene, will be able to refeed entire circuits that have lost power with a few mouse clicks. The manual process of refeeding circuits can be a time-consuming task for a line crew. But by utilizing  SCADA to support lineworkers on the ground, outage times can be reduced significantly.

A key part of NHEC’s SCADA project is an investment in a variety of ‘recloser’ technologies. Like a circuit breaker on household electric lines, reclosers shut off electric power when trouble occurs, such as a short circuit. Reclosers also allow power to flow if the interruption is temporary, like a branch that brushes a line when it falls. NHEC is installing a variety of recloser technologies in the field that will respond to automated processes activated by employees from our Control Center. The result – shorter outage times and increased reliability for members.

Candidates Wanted for Board of Directors & Nominating Committee

NHEC is governed by a Board of Directors, which is elected by our members. Each year, a Nominating Committee recommends candidates to run for the Board of Directors. NHEC is seeking members interested in serving on both panels – the Board of Directors and the Nominating Committee.

Board of Directors

In 2021, four seats on the 11-member Board of Directors will be up for election to three-year terms. Voting will take place by mail or electronic ballot in May 2021, with new Board members taking their seats at the June annual meeting of members.  NHEC seeks broad representation from a diverse group of individuals and encourages all qualified members to consider running.  You must be a Co-op member in order to run for a position on the Board.  For more information about how to get your name on next year’s ballot, contact Sharon Yeaton at 603-536-8801, or yeatons@nhec.com.

Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee reviews the qualifications of potential candidates seeking election to the Board of Directors and nominates a slate of candidates to run for the four open seats.  Any Co-op member interested in being part of the candidate selection process for the NHEC Board of Directors is encouraged to apply for a position on the Nominating Committee.  For more information about time requirements and applying to be considered for the Nominating Committee, contact Sharon Yeaton at 603-536-8801, or yeatons@nhec.com.

NHEC Closed November 11 for Veterans Day

NHEC and the NHEC Member Solutions Call Center will be closed in observance of Veterans Day on Wednesday, November 11, 2020. Members can still make automated payments on SmartHub or by calling 800.698.2007. The NHEC Control Center is staffed 24/7. To report an outage, please call 800.343.6432.

NHEC Sets Co-op Power and Transmission Rates for Upcoming Winter

PLYMOUTH, NH – New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) rates for the upcoming winter period will increase 9.5% over current summer rates, but are down 1.7% from last winter’s rate.

The rate changes take effect with bills rendered on or after November 1 and are the result of adjustments to two portions of members’ bills: the Co-op Power Charge and the Regional Access Charge. The Co-op Power Charge reflects the cost NHEC pays to purchase electricity for its members from the wholesale market. The cost of this power is directly passed through to members who do not purchase electricity from a competitive supplier. The Regional Access Charge includes the transmission costs NHEC pays to deliver electricity to its distribution system. As with the Co-op Power Charge, the costs NHEC incurs from transmission companies are passed directly through to members.

For a residential member using 500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per month, the winter rate changes will result in an overall bill increase of $9.43 (9.5%) per month when compared to summer rates.  However, the new winter rate is a decrease of $1.93 (1.7%) per month when compared to rates in effect last November. NHEC’s Delivery Charge rate and Member Service Charge portions of members’ bills are not changing, in line with NHEC’s stated goal of not increasing distribution charges in 2020. These two charges pay for NHEC’s operations and investments in the Co-op’s distribution system.

The increase in the Co-op Power Charge is primarily due to an annual pattern of higher energy costs in winter months in New England. During the winter, the demand for natural gas as a heating fuel increases. Since natural gas is used to generate much of the electricity in New England, the increased demand for natural gas to heat homes and businesses causes the price of electricity to increase. The increase in the Regional Access Charge is primarily due to continued investment and maintenance of high voltage electrical lines by the transmission companies that own them. The Regional Access Charge also includes a credit from revenue associated with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

NHEC’s winter rates are in effect from November 1 to May 1. A complete list of NHEC rates and fees is available HERE