MINUTES OF THE
MUNICIPAL LIGHT BOARD
JUNE 22, 2009
PURSUANT TO notice given the Wellesley Municipal Light Board (“Board”) met in the conference room of the DPW/MLP Building, 455 Worcester Street, at 5:30 PM.
Those present included Chairman Michael D. Humphrys and Commissioners William E. Charlton, David A. T. Donohue, Thomas E. Peisch and Edward J. Stewart; Municipal Light Plant (“MLP”) Director Richard F. Joyce and staff members Joseph A. Bisol, Peter Bracken, Francisco A. Frias, Debra J. Healy, Suzanne M. Newark, Donald H. Newell and James W. Verner. Also in attendance were Paul L. Criswell, Trevor P. Criswell and Jamie L. Verner.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Upon a motion made by Mr. Charlton and seconded by Mr. Humphrys, it was unanimously
VOTED: To approve the May 18, 2009 Public Session Minutes as written.
Mr. Humphrys provided all those in attendance with the opportunity to speak on matters of interest with respect to the MLP. No one in attendance wished to speak.
Financial Statements. Accounting Supervisor Joseph A. Bisol reviewed the April and Fiscal Year 2009 (“FY09”) Financial Statements. Mr. Bisol informed the Board that the MLP’s “Available Cash” is higher than the amount projected for year-end FY09. The MLP’s kilowatt-hour (“kWh”) sales year-to-date are 2% below the same period last year.
Summer Interns. The MLP’s two summer interns, Trevor P. Criswell and Jamie L. Verner, introduced themselves to the Board.
Naming of Pubic Assets. The Director referenced the addition of language to the “Naming of Public Assets Policy” that references the MLP’s compliance requirements with Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 164. Other than this language the MLP’s Policy is similar to the policy adopted by the Board of Public Works. Upon a motion made by Mr. Peisch and seconded by Mr. Stewart, it was unanimously
VOTED: To approve the “Naming of Public Assets Policy” as presented.
Rate Tariff Filing. The Massachusetts Department of Public utilities (“DPU”) provided written confirmation that the MLP’s revised rate tariffs were received and will become effective June 1, 2009. The tariffs submitted to the DPU included major revisions to the following:
- Inclusion of the summer-tier for residential customers;
- Addition of Voluntary Renewable purchase option for all customers;
- Revised calculation for residential New York Power Authority credit; and
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- Phase-in of 1% monthly rate increase using Purchase Power Adjustment charge.
Stimulus Funding. The Board of Selectmen, Green Ribbon Committee and MLP staff presented a consolidated request for “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” (“ARRA”) funding for the Town of Wellesley. The presentation was made at the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (“DOER”) Boston office on June 5, 2009. DOER staff members Mark D. Sylvia and Meg Lusardi outlined the time schedule for obtaining ARRA funds. It appears to be the DOER’s position that the vast majority of stimulus funds will be allocated to renewable energy. The MLP’s solar panel initiative would qualify for consideration but the DOER expressed concerns that the MLP may not be a recognized municipal department. It is anticipated that ARRA
funds will be made available 90 days after the federal government’s June 25, 2009 application deadline. The MLP staff will follow-up on the issue of the MLP being a recognized Town Department.
At the conclusion of the meeting, both Meg Lusardi and Mark Sylvia recognized the MLP’s leadership among all Massachusetts electric utilities in energy conservation and renewable energy. Board of Selectmen Chair, Gregory B. Mills acknowledged the DOER’s recognition at the June 8th Selectmen’s meeting and June 13th time-of-use meeting.
Reliability Award. The American Public Power Association (“APPA”) presented the MLP with the Reliable Public Power Provider Platinum Award. The APPA recognized the MLP “[O]ut of more than 2,000 public power utilities in the United States, Wellesley Municipal Light Plant set itself apart by earning this prestigious recognition based on its commitment to reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement.” The receipt of the Platinum Award is a step-up from the Gold Award the MLP received in 2007.
Fiscal Year 2010 (“FY10”) Streetlight Rate. In accordance with Massachusetts General Law Chapter 164, Section 58 the FY10 streetlight rate is $.1338/per kWh. This is the same rate that was presented to Advisory and approved by the Town Meeting. Mr. Joyce has identified three alternatives to reduce the Town’s streetlight costs using the MLP’s Municipal Energy Conservation fund. Upon a motion made by Mr. Donohue and seconded by Mr. Stewart, it was unanimously
VOTED: To establish the Fiscal Year 2010 streetlight rate at $.1338/per kilowatt-hour in accordance with the formula established within Massachusetts General Law Chapter 164, Section 58.
Production Union Contract. The Director reviewed the changes made to the MLP’s Production Union Bargaining Agreement. A copy of the “Memorandum of Agreement” that was approved by the Board at the May 18, 2009 meeting was included in the Board packet for cross-reference purposes. Mr. Stewart asked if the Contract had been ratified by the Production Union. Mr. Joyce stated that the Union membership had voted to approve. Mr. Donohue asked if the dates in Article 29 should reflect an effective date of July 1, 2009 for the start date and June 30, 2011 as the end date. The Director stated this was a two-year contract and Mr. Donohue’s dates were accurate. All Members of the Board and the Director signed the Bargaining
FY09 Uncollectible Accounts. Mr. Joyce reviewed the accounts determined by the staff to be uncollectible. In FY09 the staff is recommending a write-off of nineteen (19) residential accounts totaling $8,838.04 and five (5) commercial accounts in the amount of $5,113.30. Although the proposed FY09 write-off amount of $13,951.34 is below the 2000 – 2008 average of $14,600, FY09 is much higher than most recent years. The Director attributed the increased
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write-offs to more protective DPU disconnection policies, the economy and a lack of active involvement on his part. Upon a motion made by Mr. Charlton and seconded by Mr. Peisch, it was unanimously
VOTED: To approve the write-off of $8,838.04 of residential accounts and $5,133.30 commercial account in accordance with the individual list of accounts provided to the Board.
Route 9 Excavation Award. Superintendent Donald H. Newell reviewed the bids received from the MLP’s Bid Specification, #09S-80-104, Installation of Electrical Conduit and Manhole System. A total of seven (7) bids were received with Paolini Corporation submitting the lowest bid in the amount of $129,422.50. The second lowest bidder was within $35.00. The MLP has contracted Paolini’s services in the past and was pleased with the quality of their work. Upon a motion made by Mr. Donohue and seconded by Mr. Peisch, it was unanimously
VOTED: To award the excavation work identified within Bid Specification #90S-80-104, Installation of Electrical Conduit and Manhole System to the lowest bidder, Paolini Corporation, in the amount of $129,422.50.
Time-Of-Use (“T.O.U”) Pilot Program. The MLP staff completed its T.O.U. pilot program with Fifteen (15) participants in May. The program results were impressive as all participants reduced both their total monthly consumption as well as their on peak usage. Mr. Joyce was of the opinion that the 15 participants were more enthusiastic and committed than the average Wellesley resident and questions remain as to whether these impressive reductions would be sustainable. Nevertheless, the pilot program results were so impressive it is highly likely that a Town-wide T.O.U. program could be successful.
The Director referred to page 7 of the T.O.U. informational packet, which identified the following requirements for a successful Town-wide program:
- Technology must provide real time data.
- Periodic measurement and comparisons.
- Interactive communications (cause and effect).
- Financial rate incentive for off peak usage.
- Competition improves results.
- Shorten 11:00 PM on peak requirement.
Mr. Joyce informed the Board that Wellesley, along with municipal light plants in Braintree, Concord, Hingham, Reading and Wakefield, were looking into a T.O.U. program developed by Grounded Power. The MLP staff was impressed with Grounded Power because it included all of the required characteristics necessary for a successful program as identified by the pilot program. The Grounded Power program will include up to fifty (50) residential participants and a few municipal facilities.
Mr. Humphrys discussed his involvement, as one of the 15 participants in the pilot program. He agreed with the Director on the success of the pilot program and expressed support for the expanded Grounded Power initiative. Mr. Stewart was of the opinion that this technology would be commonplace in the future and municipal buildings should be an equal priority.
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Solar Panel Installation. The staff reviewed the cost-benefit of a 50 kW and 225 kW solar panel installation on the garage and warehouse. Based on informal proposals received the annual cost for the average residential customer would vary between $1.50 and $4.66, depending on the size of the installation. The Director supported the solar installation but recommended that the Board defer any action until the DOER allocates ARRA funds. The Board was in agreement.
Renewable Energy Participation. Mr. Joyce recommended that the MLP not participate in the Commonwealth’s Renewable Energy Trust (“RET”) program. Based on the current RET charge of $.0005/kWh the MLP would make an annual payment of $120,000. There are two drawbacks from the MLP’s participation: 1) the Board would relinquish control over setting the RET rate; and 2) the decision is irrevocable.
The MLP staff attempted to evaluate the benefits the Town and electric customers would receive from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (“MTC”) allocation of RET funds. The MTC directed the staff to two websites that seemed to indicate Wellesley-specific funding would be limited. Mr. Joyce was of the opinion that the MLP already funds many of the programs the MTC would subsidize such as the High School solar panels and the energy modeling for the new High School. The Board was in agreement with the Director and asked Mr. Joyce to continue to monitor this opportunity.
FY09 Director’s Objectives. The MLP is on schedule to complete all sixteen (16) Objectives for this Fiscal Year. Employee safety and the completion of FY09 without a “Lost Time Accident” is the only Objective not completed. As of June 22, 2009 the MLP had completed 1,362 consecutive days without a “Lost Time Accident”.
FY10 Director’s Objectives. Mr. Joyce summarized the proposed fourteen (14) Objectives for FY10. Approximately one-third of the Objectives directly pertain to renewable energy and energy conservation. Mr. Humphrys requested an objective to follow-up on the expansion of T-Mobile installations and Mr. Charlton requested an objective to monitor the MLP’s investment in Energy New England. Mr. Donohue and Mr. Joyce discussed an objective that would monitor the MLP’s power supply costs. Upon a motion made by Mr. Peisch and seconded by Mr. Charlton, it was unanimously
VOTED: To approve the Fiscal Year 2010 Director’s Objectives as presented with an additional objective for the expansion of T-Mobile distributed antennas and another for the monitoring of the Energy New England investment.
Next Board Meeting. The Board scheduled the next meeting for Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 5:30 PM.
Election of Officers. Upon a motion made by Mr. Charlton and seconded by Mr. Peisch it was unanimously
VOTED: To elect Edward J. Stewart, Municipal Light Board Chairman for Fiscal Year 2010.
Upon a motion made by Mr. Donohue and seconded by Mr. Humphrys it was unanimously
VOTED: To elect William E. Charlton as Municipal Light Board Vice-Chairman for Fiscal Year 2010.
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Upon a motion made by Mr. Donohue and seconded by Mr. Humphrys it was unanimously
VOTED: To elect Thomas E. Peisch as Municipal Light Board Secretary for Fiscal Year 2010.
Executive Session. Mr. Donohue polled each member for authorization to enter into Executive Session. All Board Members responded in the affirmative and the Board entered into Executive Session at 7:15 PM.
Return to Public Session. The Board returned to Public Session at 7:30 PM.
Director’s Fiscal Year 2009 Bonus and Future Compensation. Board is awaiting input from the Retirement Board as to the potential effect of the recent statutory change on the Director’s retirement benefit eligibility. A brief discussion of issues related to the Director’s future compensation followed. Upon a motion made by Mr. Donohue and seconded by Mr. Charlton, it was unanimously
VOTED: This matter will be considered at further length when input from Retirement Board and further comparable information is in hand.
The Board Meeting adjourned at 7:36 PM.
David A. T. Donohue, Secretary
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