The Board meets on the first and third Monday of each month. Meetings begin at 1:00 p.m. and are held in the department conference room at 65 Lafayette Ave, Littleton. Board meetings are open to the public and time is allotted for public comments at each meeting.
The regularly scheduled Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting began at 1:00 p.m. on June 18, 2018 in the Littleton Water and Light (LWL) conference room. Present were Commissioner Ralph Ross, Commissioner Peter Cooper, Commissioner Schuyler Sweet, Financial Director Cheryl Wilkins, and Superintendent Thomas Considine.
The minutes of the June 4, 2018 regularly scheduled Commissioners meeting were reviewed. Commissioner Sweet made a motion to accept the minutes as presented, seconded by Commissioner Cooper.
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0.
CUSTOMER & PUBLIC CONCERNS:
Mr. Rudy Gelsi commented in regard to the request that the Town of Littleton made for funding assistance for the River District Project and that LWL agreed to give/donating $155,000 towards the project.
Following some back and forth discussion between Mr. Gelsi and the BOC, Commissioner Cooper stated that the project was basically underfunded and that LWL is contributing funds towards the underground street lighting. If LWL did not step up the entire project may have been in jeopardy due to lack of funds and timing.
Mr. Gelsi stated that in his opinion it is not up to LWL and its customerís to bail out the Town every time they need extra money. He hopes that LWL did not set a precedent in that when the town needs more money they will come to LWL to be bailed out.
Commissioner Ross stated that the project carries over $200,000 in contingency funding and LWL is expecting that the town will use these funds prior to asking LWL to give them the entire $155,000 to reduce the burden on LWL.
Mr. Gelsi asked if the $155,000 donation to the Town has any bearing on the previous discussion about raising the electric rates. Mr. Considine stated that it had no bearing; the electric rates need to be adjusted regardless of those funds and due to an increase in wholesale power supply costs, mostly associated with this past winter.
FINANCIAL DIRECTORS REPORT:
Mrs. Wilkins reviewed the highlights of the financial statements for the month ended April 2018 with the Commissioners. Several variances as compared to budget were discussed and explained by Mrs. Wilkins.
Mr. Considine stated that it does not appear that the electric operating margins are recovering from the spot market spike in January 2018 as in past years and transmission costs are higher than budgeted. A preliminary rate analysis was discussed that shows that a ten (10) percent increase in the electric rates may be prudent. It is anticipated that the proposed increase is expected to stabilize the downward trend though not intended to move the budget into the black at years end. A full electric rate analysis should be conducted that will highlight the impact to each rate class. The results could be presented at the July 2nd BOC meeting for discussion. A public hearing could be held at the following meeting on July 16th with expected rate implementation on August 1st.
Following some discussion the BOC agreed to the proposed timeline as suggested.
SUPERINTENDENT/ GENERAL MANAGERS REPORT:
1. Cushing Well finished drilling the first of two (2) wells at the proposed Lafayette site. They will start and finished the second well this week, though water was found it has not been determined if the quantity is sufficient to warrant further development.
2. A major leak repair is scheduled for tomorrow morning in the intersection of Cottage Street and Bethlehem Road. A traffic detail was requested and is being provide by the LPD and will consist of a police officer and cruiser. Work is scheduled to begin at 5:00 a.m. and impact to the customers is expected to be minimal with regard to interruption of their water service.
3. Proposed work involved in the removal of the dam on the South Branch of the Gale River is progressing. The centerline of the river was surveyed last week and the data will aid in preparing bid quantities with regard to river restoration. A set of original blue print plans were provide by LWL so that the concrete quantities can be determined for bid purposes as well. To date there is not a definite scope of work and completion timeline established for this proposed project due to multiple funding and jurisdictional agencies involved.
4. The NH Groundwater Trust Fund load/grant application for the water line relocation project in Bethlehem Hollow was submitted to NHDES for consideration this past week and NHDES confirmed receipt.
Commissioner Ross asked when LWL will hear anything from DES. Mr. Considine stated that in accordance with the timeline provided by DES, LWL will likely not hear anything until late summer or early fall of this year.
GENERAL/ OTHER BUSINESS:
A trend appears to be developing affecting the electric meter rate. Superintendent Considine asked for clarification with regard to multiple spaces (generally residential apartments) that are metered by a single electric meter, in the landlordís name though the landlord does not necessarily reside at the premise. What electric rate applies in these types of situations? The consumption fits a residential pattern of use though the application/property appears to be a commercial venture.
There is a financial advantage for the landlord when purchasing electrical switching equipment and internal wiring if only say one (1) meter socket is purchased for a space that contains several apartments. Combining apartments or other type of rental space on one meter makes fiscal sense for the owner but presents a challenge for LWL with regard to being fair, consistent, and treating all as equitably as we can.
The BOC discussed that LWLís official default positon is that when more than one (1) space is being metered by only one (1) meter and these spaces/apartments are being rented (for profit presumably) and the spaces/apartment remain in the ownerís/landlords name, that they are to be treated and classified as a commercial account. Even though the use is generally residential consumed the act of renting a space is a commercial enterprise. If an owner/landlord has a particular situation they can present their rational at a BOC meeting and request an exception to policy.
Commissioner Sweet made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0.
Meeting adjourned at 2:05 p.m.
The regularly scheduled Commissionerís meeting is held twice monthly on the first and third Monday, at 1:00 p.m., in the Departmentís conference room.