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Public Advocacy

The Coalition will represent consumer interests and the collective voice of its Community Power municipal members before state policymakers and state regulatory agencies, including the Public Utilities Commission. 

 

The Public Utilities Commission is a quasi-judicial board that supervises the rates, quality of service, and financial management of New Hampshire’s electric distribution utilities, and is responsible for administering rules governing the relationship between the utilities and our Member’s Community Power programs.

 

Changes in law and regulations that adversely impact Community Power programs are a source of risk for the Coalition and its Members. Furthermore, extending and maintaining the full range of benefits that Community Power could create for customers will require informed participation and advocacy on energy issues at the Legislature and Public Utilities Commission.

Since 2019, members of the Coalition’s Organizing group have:

  • Authored the Community Power Aggregation Act (Senate Bill 286);

  • Led the Community Power informal rule drafting process at the Public Utilities Commission by: providing the initial and subsequent draft rules for discussion, arranging bilateral meetings with utilities and other stakeholders, and leading significant portions of the subsequent stakeholder workshops at the request of Commission staff; 

  • Intervened in regulatory proceedings to represent the interests of communities and customers, such as by advocating for expanded retail data access and a representative governance committee structure in the Statewide Data Platform docket (DE 19-197); and

  • Successfully negotiated the clarification and expansion of key Community Power authorities in House Bill 315.

The Coalition’s regulatory and legislative engagement is guided by the understanding that we can achieve common sense, consumer-friendly policies and regulations that recognize the value of local decision making — when we speak with one voice. 

The Coalition's Early Legislative Victory

House Bill 315 was introduced in January 2021 and would have revoked key local control authorities and foreclosed the launch of any Community Power Aggregation in practice. 

The Coalition’s Organizing Group quickly united a broad range of local stakeholders to protect Community Power authorities. Within a matter of weeks, legislative sponsors received:

 

The Coalition’s members and allies also engaged in a media campaign to raise public awareness. Select coverage is below:

After four hours of informed testimony at legislative hearings, Coalition members partnered with the bill sponsor to host collaborative work sessions to re-write the bill by amendment. Through this process, utilities, businesses and communities negotiated and unanimously agreed on new language that protects our local control authorities, clarifies data access procedures and includes a requirement for the distribution utilities a Purchase of Receivables program (a significant credit enhancement for Community Power and our customers).

Coalition Leadership Thanked by House Committee & HB 315 Sponsor

The video clips below — from the public presentation on consensus amendments to House Bill 315 — feature Coalition leader Clifton Below, Assistant Mayor of Lebanon, and Representative Michael Vose, Chair of the NH House Science Technology & Energy Committee and prime sponsor of HB 315: