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Minutes of Town Board Meetings

Minutes of 3/28/2017

April 17th, 2017

Town of Carroll Building Committee Special Meeting Minutes
March 28, 2017 @ 1:00 p.m.
Carroll Town Hall
Members and guests present: Tadd Bailey, Catalina Celentano, Greg Hogan, Michael Hogan, Brad Houston, Brian Mycko, Scott Sonia and Imre Szauter
The special meeting of the Building Committee began at 1:00 p.m. and was recorded.
Attendees stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
A draft agenda was distributed and a sign-in sheet was routed around.
Attendees introduced themselves.
Imre welcomed Catalina Celentano, Eversource Community Relations Specialist (New Hampshire – Northern Region) to the meeting. He provided background information on the committee’s work since restarting in November 2016 and a brief history of previous attempts to replace municipal structures in the town. Imre mentioned passage of the 2017 warrant article to provide seed funding to begin the process of constructing a new public safety and administrative offices facility on town land partially occupied by Town Hall.
Imre invited Catalina to address two areas of interest to attendees – how Eversource can partner with the Town of Carroll during the planning and construction processes for a new building to qualify for energy-efficiency rebates, and to review and recommend changes to the town’s street light program to reduce our operational and maintenance costs.
Catalina asked about the warrant article. Imre read the warrant article and explained how the Building Committee intended to proceed for the remainder of 2017. Catalina asked about the fate of Town Hall. Nothing has been decided, as the library, Historical Society and food pantry operations, plus the town residents’ input have to be taken into consideration before a final determination is made.
Catalina suggested discussing the street light issue first; she distributed information on the 127 street lights in use in the Town of Carroll. She stated the town is on the Efficiency Outdoor Light (EOL) Rate, which provides a monthly fixed cost per light, dependent on the month of the year and the rated power consumption.
Catalina explained the difference between the (older) Outdoor Light (OL) Rate and the Efficiency Outdoor Light (EOL) Rate. Under the OL Rate, all repairs and maintenance costs are covered by Eversource. Under the EOL Rate, the municipality is responsible for all repairs and maintenance, except for replacement of light bulbs and ballasts. Municipalities can save about 40% of the cost on their street light program by selecting the EOL Rate.
LED street light fixtures were recently introduced as a replacement option for the conventional High Pressure Sodium or Metal Halide fixtures under the EOL Rate program. Under this option,
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a municipality may elect to purchase an approved LED street light fixture and receive a manufacturer’s warranty on the fixture, ensuring a certain number of years of reliable use. The municipality may then contract with a licensed electrician or Eversource to install the LED street light fixtures. Once installed, Eversource assumes all maintenance responsibilities for the LED street light fixture, but the municipality must provide replacement LED street light fixtures and submit a warranty claim (for parts only) with the manufacturer during the warranty period.
Advantages of using the LED street light fixtures as replacements includes longer lighting fixture life expectancy, fewer outages and maintenance events, and lower kilowatt-hour (kWh) electric consumption.
Catalina recommended the town evaluate each street light fixture listed in the inventory printout during darkness hours to determine if the light is still necessary for safety, security or convenience; if the intensity (measured in lumens) of the light is correct for its location; and whether the light should remain on the “All Night Service Option” or be changed to the “Midnight Service Option.” Monthly cost savings can be realized by selecting the “Midnight Service Option”, under which the street light fixture is turned off during specific hours (usually between midnight and 5:00 a.m.).
As part of that effort, Catalina suggested tying ribbons around utility poles with street light fixtures under consideration for removal and soliciting input from the community before actually removing any street light fixtures from service. Street light fixtures are not merely turned off; when powered down, they are physically removed. Both removal and reinstallation events would trigger a service charge by Eversource.
Michael asked for clarification on the rate structure for our current street light program, in particular the street light fixtures rated at 30,000 lumens output on School Street and New Straw Road. Catalina explained the town ordered installation of those units in years 2000 and 2005, respectively, as Eversource does not select the intensity of the installed street light fixtures.
Michael asked what advantages switching to LED street light fixtures offered, given the costs of purchasing new fixtures, installation, and long-term maintenance. He stated he didn’t understand how the town would save money by remaining on a tariffed rate as opposed to a metered rate per street light fixture. Catalina explained that the LED street light fixtures have a slightly lower monthly distribution rate, lower monthly kWh consumption, and longer life expectancy when compared to other technologies. She explained that once we provide an updated inventory of street light fixtures the town might consider converting to LED units, she would bring in Randy Perkins of Eversource to run the numbers for us.
Catalina stated that any street lights in the Town of Carroll that are paid for by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) would not be listed on our inventory and that she is prevented from disclosing the location of those street light fixtures. If the town wants that information, a representative should contact the NHDOT for a listing of the street light fixtures it controls in town.
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Michael asked if, as a private resident, he could request installation of a street light fixture on an Eversouce pole at the end of his driveway. Catalina replied that yes, he could have one installed and pay for it at a metered rate. It could also be installed on a privately-owned pole.
Michael asked about other towns and their experiences with metered street light fixtures. Catalina responded that several towns, including Rochester and Lancaster, have purchased their own LED street light fixtures, installed them on city-owned poles, have assumed all maintenance and repair responsibilities, and pay a metered rate for electricity. Michael also asked about solar-powered street light fixtures, to which Catalina responded that Eversource does not offer them as an option.
Imre stated he would create a spreadsheet using the rate information provided by Catalina so the town could get a better understanding of what each street light fixture costs per month.
Catalina mentioned that some towns are timing their LED street light conversion programs with their Eversource regularly-scheduled bulb replacement program. That way, there is only one service visit per pole (upgrade to LED) instead of a routine bulb replacement followed later by an upgrade to an LED street light fixture (two visits). She also mentioned an option under which a town upgrades only a few older street light fixtures at one time to gauge resident reactions to the new street light fixtures. Because the color of the light emitted by the LED street light fixtures tends to be whiter that traditional high-pressure sodium street light fixtures, some people may object to the change.
Imre mentioned that creating a layer within the GIS system for street lights might help the town track which street light fixtures are installed on which poles and the costs associated with each pole.
Catalina addressed the Eversource energy efficiency programs for new buildings. She mentioned lighting and control systems and heating and ventilation systems would qualify for rebates under their programs as long as Eversource reviews and approves the systems selected during the design and construction phases. An Eversource representative would be assigned (possibly Randy Perkins) to work with the town. More information is available on the Eversource at https://www.eversource.com/Content/nh.
Catalina mentioned that the Eversource Municipal Smart Start Program applies to retrofitting existing buildings only, in case the town decided to purchase and install energy efficiency products in current structures.
Catalina stated that there was a street light rebate program in effect last year, but she wasn’t sure it was still available. She stated the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has proposed revamping the energy efficiency programs in 2018 and may make more rebates and incentives available.
Michael asked if Eversource gets involved in solar electric production. Catalina stated that solar is becoming a more popular option for municipalities and the Eversource is indeed involved in assisting towns with incorporating solar electric production in their energy portfolio. She
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mentioned net metering, the program under which excess power produced onsite is fed back into the electric grid and credited to the town’s account.
Catalina brought information dealing with federal tax credits and financing for energy efficiency programs for municipalities. She also brought a copy of an email from the office of New Hampshire Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster dealing with grant programs.
Catalina mentioned the program that provides free energy audits for existing structures. Brad stated that the Town Hall had an energy audit performed in 2014 or 2015, while the fire station building was audited in December 2011.
Scott asked about the color of light emitted by the LED street light fixtures. Catalina suggested contacting lighting vendors to determine what color options may be available.
Catalina distributed a copy of the Eversource critical facilities listing for storm restoration priorities for the Town of Carroll and asked that the police and fire departments review it for completeness. Tadd pointed out the Police Department building was missing from the list. Additional updates were suggested by Greg and Scott; Catalina said she would make the updates and get address information from the town office.
The next meeting of the Building Committee will be Thursday, Mar. 30 at 9:00 a.m. in Town Hall.
The meeting adjourned at 2:19 p.m.
Minutes prepared by Imre Szauter.