Hearing Starts State CEA Application Process

            The Rochester Board of Selectmen held the public hearing for the town’s participation in the Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District (SRPEDD) Community Electricity Aggregation (CEA) on September 16, and it looks like residents of Rochester are eager to start saving on their electric bills.

            “I think people know what’s going on and they’re very interested and looking forward to it,” said Selectman Greenwood “Woody” Hartley. “I’ve had only positive comments to me when I’ve run into people from the public.”

            That was ditto for Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar, who said residents seem positive and “anxious” for it to begin.

            John O’Rourke of Good Energy, the consultant that will be negotiating bids on electricity rates on behalf of the 24 municipalities in the SRPEDD CED, including Rochester, said the next step is the submission of a plan to the Department of Energy Resources (DOER). After about six to eight weeks, the DOER will issue a letter granting permission for Good Energy to submit an application with the Department of Public Utilities for final approval, a process that could take six to eight months – hopefully closer to the six-month side, said O’Rourke.

            O’Rourke told the board the best way to proceed would be for Rochester to go out to bid with the entire CEA in January 2021 when the SRPEDD CEA agreement expires.

            “That will be a tremendous advantage for Rochester in terms of getting a good rate,” said O’Rourke.

            In the meantime, come June or July 2020 when Rochester is finally approved to join the CEA, Rochester can go out to bid for the short period before January 2021.

            O’Rourke said he does not anticipate any delays in the process.

            In other business, the board voted to postpone any further discussion or action pertaining to an agreement for roof-mounted solar panels at Rochester Memorial School until the solar developer can answer questions from the board and town counsel.

            The selectmen reviewed some of the proposed articles for the November 18 Special Fall Town Meeting. Szyndlar will present the warrant at the next meeting for the board and the Finance Committee to review and make recommendations.

            The Governor’s Office has designated the Town of Rochester as a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Community as a result of the town’s completion of the six-step Community Resilience Planning for Buildings and Infrastructure process. The town is now eligible for associated grants through the program.

            The board approved adding Kevin Woodward to the C&C Auto Brokers’ car dealer license.

            The next meeting of the Rochester Board of Selectmen is scheduled for October 7 at 6:00 pm at the Rochester Town Hall.

Rochester Board of Selectmen

By Jean Perry

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