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Utility Looking to Batteries to Power Homes in Upper Valley

Michael Kappel/Flickr CC

In an effort to cut down on infrastructure costs and reduce energy bills for consumers, Liberty Utilities is looking to install batteries in hundreds of homes in the Upper Valley this fall.

The effort is a pilot program involving 300 customers in the Lebanon area, spokesperson John Shore said. Ultimately, the company plans to expand to about 1,000 homes 

Homeowners involved would pay variable rates, depending on when they are pulling energy from the grid. “The idea is that the battery would be in service and be charging during the off-peak times, when prices are low,” Shore said. “And then customers would draw off the battery when prices are high.”

The battery, which the utility would own, would cost customers about $1,000, roughly a fifth of its total cost, Shore said. The utility would pay the rest.

The deal aims to save money on all sides. If energy demand is more evenly balanced over a 24-hour period, the utility may be able to avoid investing in upgraded infrastructure, even if overall demand continues to grow as projected. And consumers will see savings on their monthly energy bill.

The program still has to be approved by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, but Shore said Liberty already has a waiting list of homeowners looking to join.

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