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Wallingford approves 5-year power deal with Massachusetts company

Published: Tuesday,
May 14, 2013

By Luther Turmelle / Twitter: @lutherturmelle

WALLINGFORD — The Town Council and the Public Utilities Commission Tuesday night approved a five-year contract with a Foxboro, Mass., company to procure wholesale power for the community’s municipal electric company.

The deal with Energy New England is expected to save the town’s Electric Division $1.74 million a year for providing the same power procurement services as those now being provided by the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative (CMEEC) in Norwich.

The average annual cost that Energy New England will charge for the services between 2014 when the contract begins and 2018 is $560,000, said George Adair, the town’s public utilities director.

The PUC was paying CMEEC $2.3 million annually for the same level of procurement services, Adair said.

By 2018, those savings are expected to reduce the average customer’s electric bill by $1.84 per month, he said. The deal does not cover the actual price the Electric Division will pay for the cost of power purchased on the wholesale market.

But PUC Chairman Robert Beaumont and Vice Chairman David Gessert said a variety of other factors went into the decision to phase out the agreement with CMEEC and begin a new relationship with Energy New England.

“We like the idea that with ENE, we’ll have more control over the different levels of risk that we have in our energy portfolio; so that certainly was a factor,” Beaumont said after a series of votes by the council and the PUC at a joint meeting had approved the deal.

The Electric Division’s deal with Energy New England calls for the company to purchase a separate portfolio of electricity contracts specifically for Wallingford, as the firm does for its 17 other municipal clients.

Under the Electric Division’s existing arrangement with CMEEC, power contracts are purchased from the wholesale market and go into a pool that serves all of its member municipal utilities.

Wallingford and six other municipal electric companies, along with the Mohegan Tribal Authority, make up CMEEC’s client base.
Adair told council members that the PUC began exploring a new power procurement services provider three years ago. Republican Councilman Vincent Cervoni called the PUC’s decision to explore a new procurement arrangement “exciting.”

Energy New England was considered along with an Indianapolis-based company, ACES Energy Management, Adair said.

The PUC also considered restructuring its arrangement with CMEEC, Gessert said.

“After talking with all of their existing clients, we had a high level of confidence that ENE was the right choice for us,” Gessert said.

Call Luther Turmelle at 203-789-5706.