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 business meeting of the Littleton Water and Light (LWL) Board of Commissioners (BOC) began at 1:00 p.m. on Monday,
April 19, 2021 the LWL conference room. Present were Commissioner Schuyler Sweet, Commissioner Ralph Ross, Commissioner Peter Cooper, Director of Finance Lori Hogan and Superintendent Thomas Considine.
The minutes of the April 5, 2021 regularly scheduled Commissioner’s meeting were reviewed. Commissioner Ross made a motion to accept the minutes as presented, seconded by Commissioner Cooper.
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0
DIRECTOR of FINANCE and HUMAN RESOURCES REPORT:
1. Mrs. Hogan discussed the Reserve Adequacy Analysis (RDA) that was discussed and requested by the BOC at a previous meeting. The analysis that she recently completed is complimentary to the annual Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) which is a supplement to the basic financial data contained in the independent auditor’s report. The MD&A presents the data at a high level for informational and comparison purposes to benchmark LWL performance against other similar sized municipal utilities. The industry financial standards (benchmarks) and operating ratios are published annually by the American Public Power Association and used by LWL to gauge its financial performance relative to the industry. The RDA presents that same or similar data at a more granular or detailed level and the methodology and assumptions used to calculate the values and recommended financial goals.The following key financial indicators and ratios were discussed and reviewed: 1) Days of Cash on Hand (COH) , 2) Rate Stabilization ratios/ margins and 3) Asset Management (capital replacement & planning).
To maintain LWL’s investment grade financial credit rating LWL operating activities must provide that a certain level of financial assurance/security is attained annually. According to Fitch Ratings services the goal is to have 285 to 415 days of cash on hand (see attached calculations) readily available to maintain an “A” rated (LWL credit rating is higher at A1) organization. For the year ended 2020 LWL maintained 169 days of COH or a gross shortfall of about a $2.2 million dollars in reserves. To maintain LWL credit rating LWL operating activities should provide a margin or a surplus of $347,000 annually.
Following some additional discussion concerning the potential burden placed on LWL customers to achieve these suggested financial goals Commissioner Cooper made a motion to approve the methodology and assumption as presented in the 2021 Reserve Adequacy Guideline analysis, seconded by Commissioner Ross.
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0.
2. LWL Covid-19 Protocols were discussed with the BOC. This discussion was the direct result of Governor Sununu allowing Emergency Order #74 which “requiring persons to wear masks or cloth face coverings when in public spaces without physical distancing” to expire at midnight on Friday, August 16, 2021.
Following some discussion, the BOC agreed that LWL has taken the appropriate and reasonable mitigation measures since the onset of the pandemic. Due to the recent increase in covid-19 confirmed cases throughout the Littleton area LWL should continue to proceed deliberately and independent of how other organizations are conducting their business.
Therefore, with the exception that LWL employees will not need to complete the screening checklist when reporting to work they need to wear a masks or cloth face coverings when inside LWL facilities when physical distancing (6 feet of separation) cannot be maintained.
All visitors not associated with LWL daily operations, except for the BOC still need to complete the covid-19 screening checklist prior to being allowed access beyond LWL’s customer area.
SUPERINTENDENT/ GENERAL MANAGERS REPORT:
1. The month of April marks the end of rules (NHPUC 1204 – Winter Rules) that govern how LWL and other utilities can disconnect customers that are delinquent throughout the winter months as defined under the rule between November 15th and March 31st. Two (2) customers were disconnected for non-payment for failure to pay or did not attempt to pay in accordance with policy. One of the customers had not made a payment since late August 2020.
2. Several pictures of a recently repaired water main leak were shown to the BOC. LWL personnel fixed a significant leak on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 near the Ammonoosuc river crossing behind Shaw’s Supermarket. The leak was estimated at about 200 GPM was found by LWL field personnel following several weeks of leak detection investigation after noticing a spike in water flow through the master meter.
The BOC discussed the possibility of LWL preparing a quarterly newsletter to reach out and communicate with LWL rate payers on a more regular basis as to the important issue facing LWL operations.
Mr. Considine stated that LWL has done a newsletter in the past though not regularly and it was difficult to find enough newsworthy and interesting information to include and he is not sure what medium is more suited i.e., mailer, digital, etc. or a combination of both.
There being no further business to come before the board Commissioner Ross made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Commissioner Cooper.
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0.
Meeting adjourned at 1:55 p.m.
The regularly scheduled Commissioner’s meeting is held twice monthly on the first and third Monday, at 1:00 p.m., in the Department’s conference room.