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, March 21, 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 March 7, 2022 regularly scheduled Commissioners meeting were reviewed. Commissioner MacNeil made a motion to accept the minutes as presented, seconded by Commissioner Ross.
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0
Commissioner Cooper opened the public hearing regarding the adjustments to both the water and electric tariff due to take effect on April 1, 2022.
Superintendent Considine presented a power point presentation that highlighted the contributing factors as to why the rate increases were recommended and approved by the BOC. Though a nominal rate increase of about 9% and 14.7% are recommended for water and electric respectively, Superintendent Considine stated that he is concerned that this increase will not be sufficient if prices remain at current record levels. Anticipated revenues are already over 3% to 4% behind due to the April 1St implementation.
Commissioner Ross stated that this increase should make up a significant amount of the projected shortfall and the rate stabilization account could augment the variance.
Gary Morneau, resident of High Street, inquired as to why the BOC decided to wait until April 1, 2022 before implementing the rate increases when the data shows that they should have been implemented in January.
Commissioner Ross stated that the BOC considered the rate impact on LWL customers and that typically a lot is going on at the beginning of a new year. Waiting until April 1st would provide a better picture of what was happening regarding LWL expenses as compared to budget projections. The overall timing was better for LWL and its customers and LWL could draw down some of its reserves to cover its first quarter operating shortfall.
Bruce Hadlock asked how much has been used out of the reserves and why more is not planned on being used?
Mrs. Hogan stated that by the end of March LWL would have transferred about $600,000 from the rate stabilization reserve account.
Superintendent Considine stated that the reserves are not meant to be used for normal or long-term operating expenses but in times of unexpected need and by design.
Following some additional discussion Commissioner Cooper closed the public hearing at about 1:50 p.m.
DIRECTOR of FINANCE and HUMAN RESOURCES REPORT:
1. Commissionerís Cooper and Ross executed the auditors Engagement letter and Governance questionnaire respectively, both forms will be forward to the auditors.
2. Mrs. Hogan stated that auditors have completed their audit of LWL financial statements for the year ended 2021, no material or significant findings were discovered. In additional no corrections to the December 2021 profit and loss (P/L) statement were recommended by the auditors. The final December 2021 P/L statement will be published and to the BOC before their next meeting.
SUPERINTENDENT/ GENERAL MANAGERS REPORT:
The results of the March 25, 2022 power supply procurement was briefly discussed with the BOC. LWL has about four (4) percent remaining of the total power supply resources needed that is still subject to spot market pricing. This percentage is over and above the allowable contractual hedge limit set by the BOC. LWL plans another power supply RFP solicitation in late summer to lock in (hedge) open resources between October 2022 and March 2023. Currently the oil and natural gas rack prices are at historic levels. If the situation does not improve, LWL will incur significantly more costs in 2022 and 2023 that may need to be passed on to customers. Longer term contract may not be available due to market conditions.
The BOC reviewed and discussed an email response from Geosphere Environmental regarding financial assurance needed to protect the Brickyard Wellhead from proposed blasting and excavation activity at 786 West Main Street in Littleton (Highland Croft property).
Following some additional discussion, the BOC agreed that in accordance with the Littleton Planning Board excavation permit PB21-06 the property owner(s) would need to provide LWL with a performance bond in the amount of $ 2.0 million and for the duration specified.
There being no further business to come before the board Commissioner Cooper 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 2:25 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.