by Hadley Barndollar, New Hampshire Bulletin
This story was updated on Oct. 12 to correct information about community power in the city of Keene.
Cheshire County is launching the first county-level community power program in the state, the Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire announced Tuesday.
The county’s membership will help towns within Cheshire County adopt community power more quickly by using the county’s community power aggregation rather than having to develop their own.
The coalition called this a “fast track approach” to get benefits of community power to Cheshire County residents.
“This is a landmark moment for community power,” said Community Power Coalition CEO Brian Callnan. “Cheshire County has paved the way for their towns to adopt community power as easily as it’s ever been. This means that the county and each town has the ability to increase their community control, enable greater energy choice, and bring real savings to their ratepayers.”
Dublin, Fitzwilliam, and Nelson will be the first towns to join. After a recent vote, Roxbury won’t be far behind, and other communities are expected to soon follow.
“We are thrilled to be able to bring this increased control and cost savings to our county government,” said Cheshire County Commissioner Terry Clark. “Offering a ‘fast track’ approach for the city and towns in our county will also allow them to enjoy the extensive benefits of community power in a simple and straightforward manner.”
Keene, Cheshire County’s only city, is pursuing a separate venture: Keene Community Power is a city-operated group purchasing program that pools the electric use of residents, businesses, nonprofits, and property owners to provide competitively priced electricity options. The city is working with Standard Power and Good Energy LP, along with two other Cheshire County towns — Swanzey and Marlborough — and Wilton.
A total of 39 communities have voted to join the Community Power Coalition. In September, at the annual New Hampshire Energy Summit, Callnan said community power is forecasted to be the second-largest default service provider in the state in 2024.
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