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 Tuesday, February 22, 2022 in the LWL conference room. Present were Commissioner Peter Cooper, Commissioner Ralph Ross, Commissioner Linda MacNeil, Director of Finance Lori Hogan, and Superintendent Thomas Considine.
The minutes of the February 7, 2022 regularly scheduled Commissioners meeting were reviewed. Commissioner Ross made a motion to accept the minutes as presented, seconded by Commissioner MacNeil.
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0
Thad Presby, representing T & T Mountain Investments LLC, updated the BOC regarding their proposed demolition and excavating activities at 786 West Main Street. There are several conditions in the Littleton Planning (PB21-06) and Zoning (ZBA10-14) excavation authorization/permit that pertain to LWL that they must satisfy: 1) a comprehensive Groundwater Monitoring Plan (GMP) approved by LWL was required as the pending blasting activities are near the Brickyard Wellhead. The potential for nitrate/nitrite contaminating the adjacent water aquifer and the surrounding well, especially LWL’s Brickyard (320 GPM) artesian well, needs to be mitigated. This was also a condition of the Alteration of Terrain Permit (AoT permit) required by NHDES, and 2) that T& T Mountain Investments, LLC provide LWL with a performance/surety bond or equal financial assurance for a period of five (5) year following the cessation of any site blasting. The surety/bond is for the future replacement value of the Brickyard Well if the wellheads current capacity is affected or the well becomes contaminated by the proposed excavation/blasting activities.
Mr. Presby stated that AoT permit was recently issued by the NHDES and the GMP was approved on January 5, 2022. The portion of the GMP pertaining to LWL and the Brickyard Well was reviewed with the BOC. With regards to financial assurance Mr. Presby stated that T & T Mountain Investments current commercial insurance liability policy contains pollution protection of up to $ 1 million dollars and his blasting contractor has the same coverage. He was questioning whether that might satisfy LWL’s financial surety requirements.
Mr. Considine stated that previous work was conducted by LWL to analyze the cost to develop a replacement of the Brickyard Well if damaged or contaminated during construction activities. Horizons Engineering was retained by LWL in 2009 and provided an estimated cost to replace the wellhead in the amount of $1.5 million dollars or about $2.0 million at current market prices.
Mr. Presby asked if LWL could refine the dollar figure amount of the financial assurance required and whether LWL would accept the liability coverage contained in their current insurance policy which is their preference. The performance bond will likely cost up to twenty (20) percent of the face value of the bond annually to secure.
Mr. Considine stated that he would ask Geosphere Environment for assistance to refine LWL surety level and what their experience was regarding bonding a similar type of project.
Following some additional discussion, the BOC advised Mr. Presby that once they have discussed his request in more detail, they would let him know in a timely manner the BOC decision. Mr. Presby thanked the BOC for their time and excused himself from the meeting.
CUSTOMER & PUBLIC CONCERNS:
1. LWL personnel were called to a significant pole accident involving a motor vehicle on Monday, February 21, 2022 at about 6 pm on Cottage Street in Littleton. As a direct result of the vehicle impact with the pole the lower portion of the pole from about the communication attachment to ground was missing (about 16 – 18 feet) when LWL arrived on scene. Remarkably all wires and other equipment were still suspended being supported by the adjacent poles and the power was still on to all customers. Vertical clearances were checked, the area was deemed generally safe and LWL cleared the scene at about 8 p.m. Cottage Street lies within the Consolidated Communication service maintenance area and LWL was advised that as wires were still in air that their field crew would arrive the following morning to place a new utility pole and transfer with the assistance of LWL.
2. On Thursday, February 24, 2022 from 12:30 a.m. to about 4:30 a.m. LWL has a preventative maintenance electrical outage scheduled that will affect all customers on the Industrial Park Road (Circuit 33) from about Burndy Drive down Mt. Eustis Road to the town line. Weather cracks were found/observed in the porcelain line insulators of the circuit reclosure/ breaker and the severity of the damage could not be accurately ascertained.
The insulators will be replaced under a controlled outage condition as attempting to replace the equipment under an energized/load condition is not safe. All customers have been notified and preparation for the outage made.
DIRECTOR of FINANCE and HUMAN RESOURCES REPORT:
1. Mrs. Hogan advised the BOC that the auditors from Vachon Clukay that were scheduled to be onsite this week were pushed back two (2) weeks due to a scheduling conflict. The lead auditor is expected to be onsite and should be able to address the BOC at their meeting on March 7, 2022. They are expected to be at LWL three (3) to four (4) days with a primary focus on the 2021 payroll.
2. Mrs. Hogan advised the BOC that as a direct result of rising market costs of power/energy supply that she needed to transfer funds from the rate stabilization account into the operating checking account to meet A/P power supply obligations.
Mr. Considine stated that the closing price for wholesale power on the spot market for January 2022 was 16.885 cents almost three (3) times LWL current budgeted expenses. This high cost of energy had an unfavorable effect on LWL power supply budget and caused a shortfall of about $50,000. The transmission expenses for January 2022 are still being tallied though an expected shortfall is expected as the economic drivers are similar.
3. Mr. Considine stated that resumes and applications are being solicited by LWL for a pending vacancy in the water division caused by the retirement of Robert Hayward on March 31, 2022. Robert is the senior water system operator and a vital member of the LWL team and has been critical to LWL success over the past 19 year.
SUPERINTENDENT/ GENERAL MANAGERS REPORT:
1. NHDES recently notified LWL that the proposed master plan for the water distribution system submitted for grant consideration has been selected for funding. A grant (no match) award of up to $50,000 was awarded to LWL through the NHDES Strategic Planning program. LWL’ next step is to submit a scope of work and proposed deliverables to NHDES by March 31, 2022.
2. LWL recently received a grant from American Rivers in the amount of $7,400 to offset a large portion of the engineering cost to study the impact of removing the dam on the North Branch of the Gale River. The circ. 1933 concrete/earth structure was once the main headwater where raw water entered the LWL transmission system. The dam structure has not been utilized since the pipe infiltration gallery was installed in 1996 about 500 feet upstream of the dam. The proposed project will study and evaluate the effect on the infiltration pipe gallery water supply if this dam were to be removed.
3. The water main leak on the Bethlehem Road (US 302) near the Littleton Elks Club is on the Bethlehem Water Precinct (BWP) though the same water main is interconnected (1950’s) to Littleton. Though records are not readily available the consensus is that the systems were interconnected to bring fire suppression from the BWP into the easterly side to Littleton. It is not known if the interconnect was ever placed in service or utilized as the water shut of gave valves were found in the closed position. As the suspected conditions no longer exist (adequate fire supply provide with the addition of the Mt Eustis reservoir and Brickyard wellhead) the system water operators agreed that in the interest of water quality, and system incompatibility that they be separated on the easterly side of the interstate (2/17/2022).
In an intent to cut/reduce electrical operating costs LWL has been in discussion with several companies that offer battery storage solutions. The goal would be to discharge a certain amount of storage battery energy into the LWL substransmission system at a predetermined time to reduce or shave system demand during peak hours of the day. The release of stored energy should satisfy LWL load and reduce supply side transmission and wholesale demand and the costs associated with them. LWL would have minimal upfront costs and would share in the saving with the storage owner/operators.
Each company with a battery storage solution will present their findings/proposal to the BOC for consideration to be evaluated by LWL prior to any action is taken.
There being no further business to come before the board Commissioner MacNeil made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Commissioner Ross.
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0.
Meeting adjourned at 2:34 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.