NHEC to return $2 million in capital credits to members, former members

PLYMOUTH, NH – The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) Board of Directors has approved the return of over $2 million in capital credit payments to members and former members.

The 2023 capital credit retirement will result in the payment of all remaining capital credits from 1984, all of 1985, and part of 1986. Approximately 10,000 current members who had service with NHEC during that time will receive a credit on their July 2023 bills. Former members who no longer take service from NHEC will receive checks for their patronage. This is the third consecutive year NHEC will be returning capital credits to its current and former members.

NHEC is a nonprofit 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 cooperative builds equity. Unlike investor-owned utilities, however, nonprofit cooperatives return this equity back to the member-owners who created it.

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 NHEC’s 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 NHEC’s finances allow. Following a Financial Soundness Review in 2023, the NHEC Board of Directors determined that NHEC is in a good position to return equity to members for the third consecutive year.

Current and former NHEC members 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 bill assistance to NHEC members and support to local community nonprofit organizations.

Voting Opens in 2023 Board of Directors Election

PLYMOUTH, NH – Voting is underway in the 2023 New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) Board of Directors election.

Self-governance and the democratic election of directors by the members they serve are hallmarks of the cooperative business model. NHEC members are again voting to elect their representatives at the highest level of the company.

This year, seven candidates are running to fill four seats on the 11-member board of directors. Five candidates are running for election to three, 3-year terms on the Board, while two candidates are running for election to one, 1-year term. Five candidates have been 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. Two candidates are running by petition, which required them to gather the signatures of a minimum of 100 NHEC members in support of their candidacies.

Seeking election to three-year terms are nominated candidates Patricia Barbour of Lee, Madeline McElaney of Plymouth, John Simonelli of Epping and Harry Viens of Center Harbor. Running by petition for the three-year term is William Darcy of Benton. Seeking election to the one-year term is nominated candidate Leon “Lee” Pierhal of Wentworth, and Leo Dwyer of Sandwich, who is running by petition.

NHEC members will also decide two proposed amendments to the NHEC Code of Bylaws. Both were proposed and supported by the NHEC Board of Directors. The first proposed amendment would give the board additional flexibility to efficiently receive, process and count NHEC membership votes that are cast electronically. The second would eliminate the use of gendered language in the bylaws when referring to individuals.

NHEC members are receiving written statements from the candidates in support of their candidacies, along with a 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 Thursday, June 1, 2023 to return their completed paper ballot or cast their electronic ballot. Election results will be announced at the 84th Annual Meeting of Members, to be held Wednesday, June 7 at 10 a.m. at the Merrill Place Conference Center on the campus of Plymouth State University. Members can also attend the Annual Meeting online. To register to attend online, please visit https://www.nhec.com/2023-annual-meeting. All NHEC members are welcome to attend.

NHEC Names Vice President of Operations & Engineering

PLYMOUTH, NH – New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) President/CEO Alyssa Clemsen Roberts is pleased to announce the promotion of Michael Jennings to Vice President of Operations & Engineering.

Jennings joined NHEC in 2019 as Director of Engineering. Since then, he has taken on additional responsibilities in NHEC Operations, including a key role in the engineering and construction of fiber-optic networks that are providing high-speed internet access to underserved NHEC members. He had worked previously as a Senior Electrical Engineering Supervisor at Clay Electric Cooperative in Florida. In 2021, Jennings was named a Co-op Rising Star, one of 20 young professionals recognized nationwide by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

In his new role, Jennings will lead the activities of the Operations and Engineering divisions to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective electric service to NHEC members. NHEC owns and maintains over 6,000 miles of energized line that serves 86,000 homes and businesses in 118 New Hampshire communities.

“Through his knowledge and level-headed leadership, Michael has demonstrated that he’s the best choice for this important position,” said Clemsen Roberts. “It takes a combination of technical, financial and communication skills to build an electrical distribution system that meets our members’ diverse needs. We’re fortunate to have Michael leading that effort.”

Jennings will oversee several important NHEC initiatives, including the increased utilization of distribution automation and enhanced technologies to reduce outage times, replacing obsolete substation equipment to improve reliability, and facilitating the rollout of broadband internet service by directing make ready design and construction.

“We work for the members here,” Jennings said. “If it’s in the best interest of the members, we’re willing to take on the challenge. It’s important that our members to have the energy they need, the information they want, and a partner they can trust.”

NHEC Announces New Vice President of Human Resources

PLYMOUTH, NH – New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) President/CEO Alyssa Clemsen Roberts is pleased to announce the hiring of Carla Munoz as Vice President of Human Resources.

Munoz brings a diversity of experience to NHEC, having served most recently as Chief Human Resources Officer at Families In Transition, a New Hampshire-based organization that works to empower people experiencing homelessness. Prior to that, she was Senior Director, Human Resources Business Partner at MSA Safety/Globe Manufacturing; and served as Director of Human Resources at PSI Molded Plastics in Wolfeboro, NH.

“We’re fortunate to have Carla join our team, especially at this time of great change for NHEC and the industry,” said Clemsen Roberts. “NHEC, like electric cooperatives across the country, is facing the dual challenge of an aging workforce and new demands for skilled positions that have not traditionally been part of the utility landscape. Carla’s extensive experience and her ability to align HR initiatives with NHEC’s business strategies will serve NHEC and its members well.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining the NHEC team,” Munoz said. “I look forward to strengthening the partnership and support Human Resources provides staff and the organization. My leadership approach is people first; collaborating on talent-related initiatives to further enhance the employee experience and support personal and professional growth. Attracting and retaining staff is critical to the success of the organization and directly impacts the members NHEC serves.”

Munoz earned a BA in HR Management from Southern New Hampshire University and holds certifications as Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and as a Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).

NHEC Names Vice President of Broadband

PLYMOUTH, NH – New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) President/CEO Alyssa Clemsen Roberts is pleased to announce the hiring of Jonathan Nelson as Vice President of Broadband.

Nelson will work to guide and grow NHEC’s fiber-optic internet subsidiary, NH Broadband, which was founded in 2020 to provide high-speed internet access to all NHEC members, regardless of their location.

Nelson brings more than a decade of telecommunications experience to the job, having worked in various roles in construction, design, engineering, operations, customer service, and management. He comes to New Hampshire most recently from Delta-Montrose Electric Association in Colorado, where he served as a manager in their wholly-owned broadband subsidiary, Elevate.

“I am excited and ready to serve the members of NHEC, support my co-workers, and make high-speed broadband available everywhere NHEC members reside,” Nelson said. “This is a massive undertaking, but all the pieces are in place for success: proud employees, excited members, supportive board and a cooperative that understands the importance of broadband internet access to rural communities.”

NH Broadband is providing fiber-optic internet service at speeds up to 2 Gigabit per second to more than 1,200 customers in six New Hampshire towns. In 2022, NHEC was awarded a $50 million grant from the state Department of Business and Economic Affairs to support construction of fiber-optic networks that will serve 23,500 homes, businesses and municipalities in 73 New Hampshire towns. The first phase of that project is set to provide service this spring to NHEC members in parts of Plymouth, Holderness, Hebron, Rumney and Campton.

“We’re at a transformational time in our broadband business and Jonathan has the opportunity and experience required to achieve our goal of universal access for our members,” said Clemsen Roberts. “With funding and resources in place, NH Broadband is poised to grow significantly over the next several years. We’re very excited to have Jonathan join our team at this important time.”