Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire announces electricity rates


The Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire (CPCNH) announced its base electric rate of 15.8 ¢ per kilowatt-hourwhich starting in May 2023 will generate $5.8 million of dollars in savings for electric customers in 10 New Hampshire communities in the first three months alone. Community power was enabled by the New Hampshire legislature in 2019, now it is launching with 10 communities signed on.

Community power, also called community choice aggregation (CCA), allows towns to procure power on behalf of its residents, businesses and municipal accounts from an alternative supplier. Transmission and distribution services are still provided by the local utility provider. By aggregating demand, towns are able to negotiate better rates with competitive suppliers and choose cleaner energy sources. Many states have seen electric rates soar in recent months, and many towns are turning to community power as a way to have more local control over electricity sources (such as choosing more renewable energy), and lower or stable elecrtricity rates.

New Hampshire is just one of eleven states in the country to have authorized community power, with the other states being California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

CPCNH provides service to New Hampshire communities served by three utilities, and it reports that its base rate beats the electric rates set by all three entities: 22% less than Eversource’s energy supply rate; 28% less than Liberty Utilities; and 39% less than Until. The lower prices are possible because, through aggregation, the town is buying electricity for a group, which has greater purchasing power than an individual acting alone. For example, the National Renewable Energy Lab showed in a solar cost benchmark study the connection between scale and prices. The study showed that procuring 100 MW of solar instead of 10 MW can reduce development costs per watt by 16%.

“Innovation is central to the mission of Community Power,” said Clifton Below, CPCNH board chair, “our Coalition power agency is equipped to build community-scale renewable energy projects that directly benefit our cities and towns for the long-term, and to push other innovations that empower customers with distributed energy resources.”

Community power must be voted on in each town that is interested in its benefits, which for many towns can be a process that takes years. To date, 10 N.H. towns have launched community power programs including: Enfield, Exeter, Hanover, Harrisville, Lebanon, Nashua, Peterborough, Plainfield, Rye, and Walpole. In May the Coalition takes over as the default electricity provder for these communities,

Many more New Hampshire towns and cities have begun the process to launch their own programs in the coming months and years. A total of 30 communities have already voted to join the Community Power Coalition and are currently in the process of launching their own Community Power Programs.

“A key value of the Coalition is the ability to manage a portfolio of energy resources and hedge risk, and for communities to control and adjust rates over time to ensure they can maintain discounts relative to utility pricing. The benefits of Community Power are made possible by a combination of local and state leadership working together to ensure that every city and town in New Hampshire has the opportunity to chart a better energy future for their community” concluded Henry Herndon, consultant to CPCNH.

Energy customers in Nashua, N.H. are expected to save $2.6 million in the first three months of Nashua Community Power service, according to the CPCNH.

“Nashua is proud to be among the first ten communities that are charting a new path when it comes to where we get our energy,” said Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess. “Community Power Coalition is a brand new institution that gives Nashua and other communities the ability to control price volatility in the short- and long-term, and the tools to accelerate the transition to a more economically and environmentally sustainable energy system.”

Also read 50 states of solar incentives: New Hampshire

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