Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

New Hampshire’s Community Power Movement Expands

Stratham, NH unanimously voted yes to Community Power at the town meeting. (Courtesy photo)

Tom DeRosa

In a resounding testament to the growing momentum of community-driven energy initiatives, the Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire (CPCNH) has proudly announced twelve new towns that launched in March. This expansion brings local control, significant electricity cost savings, and enhanced energy choices to approximately 30,000 additional electric customers across the Granite State.

The surge in participation reflects a burgeoning trend, with the number of towns affiliating with CPCNH more than doubling in 2023 alone. Currently, the coalition boasts 56 member municipalities, representing over 30% of New Hampshire’s population, and is swiftly becoming a cornerstone of local energy governance.

CEO Brian Callnan expressed his enthusiasm for the coalition’s growth noting, “CPCNH now operates Community Power programs in twenty-eight municipalities, and by the end of March, we will be delivering savings and expanding local energy choices to an expected 120,000 customers.” Callnan emphasized the tangible impact of CPCNH’s efforts, citing over $9 million in customer savings accrued over the past calendar year.

The new towns set to benefit from Community Power savings include Durham, Hudson, New London, Newmarket, Pembroke, Stratham, Warner, Webster, and Westmoreland. Additionally, three more towns – Chesterfield, Roxbury, and Winchester – are joining the Cheshire County Community Power initiative, marking a significant step forward for regional energy autonomy.

During New Hampshire’s March Town Meeting days, a hallmark event in New Hampshire’s civic calendar, 22 CPCNH Members voted to adopt community power, further solidifying the grassroots support for local energy governance. Furthermore, the Somersworth City Council made the pivotal decision to embrace Community Power.

The momentum doesn’t stop there. Merrimack County, following a unanimous vote by its delegation on March 8, has approved the state’s second County Community Power program. This decision not only underscores the broader commitment to local energy governance but also paves the way for many towns which have expressed interest in joining this program.

Furthermore, Concord City Council unanimously voted on March 11 to join CPCNH, adding another major city to the coalition. With Concord’s inclusion, three of New Hampshire’s five largest cities – the others being Nashua and Dover – are now proud members of CPCNH. Community Power has been offering municipalities the opportunity to secure lower electricity rates. CPCNH continues to offer lower rates than those provided by New Hampshire’s four distribution utilities.

The significance of these developments extends beyond immediate cost savings. By embracing Community Power, communities across New Hampshire are cultivating resilience, sustainability, and localized decision-making in their energy landscapes. With more communities actively engaged in the process of launching their own Community Power programs, the movement shows no signs of slowing down.

As New Hampshire continues to embrace the principles of community-driven energy governance, CPCNH stands at the vanguard, championing a future where power truly resides in the hands of the people.

Tom DeRosa is a principal at b-fresh consulting.

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