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Harrisville files complaint against Eversource over community power

Daniela Allee
/
NHPR

The town of Harrisville has filed a complaint at the Public Utilities Commission against Eversource, saying the utility company has violated disclosure requirements in the state’s community power law.

Harrisville is starting a community power program, which will allow the town to buy electricity for its residents, instead of relying on a major utility company, like Eversource. The town plans to offer lower rates and more options for renewable energy.

But Andrew Maneval, the chair of Harrisville’s Select Board, told the Public Utilities Commission that Eversource is not complying with a law that says it must share information with the community power program. In particular, Maneval points to the company’s alleged failure to share data about customers who use net meters – or those who produce power through solar panels, for example – and sell it back onto the grid.

“Eversource is blatantly violating its legal requirements to provide information to the Community Power Coalition of NH which is needed to provide value to our net metering customers,” Maneval said in an email to the commission. “Eversource should be heavily fined for every day it is in violation of its legal obligations in this respect; fines for each affected town.”

On Thursday, the commission ordered Eversource to respond to the town’s complaint within 10 days, specify whether they dispute the claim, and describe the steps they’re taking to address the problem,

In a statement provided to NHPR through Eversource spokesperson William Hinkle, the company said they support customer choice for electricity and will work with communities to get programs implemented. But the company said some data, including net metering data, would be difficult to provide.

“We have also been consistent from the outset of stakeholder discussions to draft rules that certain data – including specific net metering data – could not be provided by existing utility systems without substantial system modifications that would take time to implement and could incur costs that would be required and paid for by all customers, including those in communities that don’t have aggregation programs,” the company said.

Fourteen New Hampshire municipalities plan to launch community power programs this spring, with the plan to offer lower rates than the state’s major utility companies.

Mara Hoplamazian reports on climate change, energy, and the environment for NHPR.
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