In 1996, New Hampshire was the first state to pass an Electric Utility Restructuring Act to de-monopolize aspects of the power sector to give customers greater choice, lower costs, and enable market innovations. After a stall in the market for several years, New Hampshire’s Community Power law was passed and became effective October 1, 2019 to help revamp the efforts.
New Hampshire restructured and implemented retail choice in 1996, with an opt-in option (RSA 374-F). As a result, there was not much impact on the state’s electric offering. To remedy this, in 2019 the state introduced an update to the law, RSA-53E which allowed for opt-out choice. In addition, the update also authorized Community Power Programs to implement electricity metering infrastructure.
Based on the 2019 update to the law, advocates, IOUs and the PUC were engaged in rulemaking debates around the availability and accessibility of data as well as the day to day operations of the program. In addition, Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire (CPCNH) formed a Super JPA with the cities of Hanover, Lebanon, Nashua and Cheshire. These member municipalities have begun working together to competitively procure electricity supplies, offer innovative customer services and programs, and begin to work in partnership with distribution utilities, regulators and innovative businesses to modernize the state's electrical grid and market infrastructure.
There are several other cities waiting to see how the JPA will work out operationally and will decide to join accordingly. The JPA was supposed to start offering service in June 2021 assuming rulemaking was finalized in January 2021.
All of the recent activities came to a stop in January, 2021 with the introduction of HB 315, which would place a number of regulatory and other hurdles in the way of, and perhaps even deter, communities hoping to adopt power aggregation plans. Fortunately, in April, 2021, both the state’s electric utilities and community power advocates have unanimously agreed to an amendment of HB 315 that will eliminate the bill’s most objectionable features.
LEGISLATION (PARTIAL LIST)
RSA 374-F: Electric Utility Restructuring Act (1996)
SB 286; RSA 53-E:6: CCA Enabling Legislation (2019)
HB 315 (January 2021)
HB 315 Amendment (April, 2021)
Page last updated 5/28/21
Essential Info About Energy Usage In NH Is Elusive — And That's A Costly Problem. patch.com, May 27, 2021
Harrisville voters approve community power plan. SentinelSource.com, May 22, 2021
Sentinel Editorial: Greener steps; Community power just part of Keene's worthwhile renewable energy plan. SentinelSource.com, April 10, 2021
Sentinel Editorial: Power play; Lawmakers listened, compromised on community power legislation. SentinelSource.com, March 26, 2021
N.H. considers bill to enhance community power aggregation while strengthening customer protections. Daily Energy Insider, March 6, 2021
Sentinel Editorial: Community disempowerment; Legislation would say 'never mind' to those hoping to lower energy rates through aggregation. SentinelSource.com, February 25, 2021
Lebanon, Hanover Are First To Join New Statewide Community Power Coalition. nhpr.org, February 4, 2021
CCA-Enabling Legislation: SB 286; RSA 53-E:6
ISO New England (manages NE power grid, power system planning and wholesale energy markets)
INVESTOR OWNED UTILITIES