December 2016
Executive Director's Report
Presented at the 2016 Annual Membership Meeting
Over the past 12 months we have worked together to lead NEPPA through a challenging management transition. In that time, we have developed a comprehensive strategic plan, sought out new training and education opportunities, and better marshalled our resources to meet our needs. We have also hosted successful events including our Engineering & Operations conference, the Annual Conference, and Lineworkers Rodeo. I believe that we have also united both our members and our staff around common goals and are situated to push NEPPA to the next level.   More 
Annual Membership Meeting held Dec. 2
NEPPA President James Bakas, left, and Executive Director David White were among those who addressed  our Annual Membership Meeting in Nashua, N.H. The meeting included expert presentations on topics such as utility industry compensation, electric vehicles and their impact on the grid, customer outreach, and legislative issues. A number of affiliate members also took the opportunity to showcase their products, speak about their organizations, and to network.
Deadline nearing for Advanced Lineworker Program
December 16 is the registration deadline for the 2017 Advanced Lineworker Program, a comprehensive four-week program that builds on the knowledge and skills lineworkers already possess.
The 2017 program will be held at the NEPPA Training Center in Littleton, Mass. on Jan. 10-13, Jan. 31 - Feb. 3, Feb. 28 - March 3, and March 21-24. Cost is $2,450 for members; $3,675 for non-members. 
Find more information here, or register now here.
New CREBs finance upgrades to Vermont landfill gas plant
Washington Electric Cooperative's landfill gas plant in Coventry, Vt.
The 10,900 members of Washington Electric Cooperative (WEC), based in East Montpelier, Vt., will produce even more green power from their investment in a landfill gas-fueled facility thanks to an upgrade project financed by $1.7 million in New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (New CREBS).
The New CREBS, funded through Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC), are financing improvements that will boost production at WEC's 8 MW methane-fired power plant in Coventry, Vt. by roughly 15 percent, or 1.1 MW per hour. The project is set for completion this month.
"The Coventry landfill gas project provides 60 percent of our power today at affordable and stable prices, although it has been generating 25 percent below its maximum capacity," said Patty Richards, WEC General Manager.
The facility began producing 4.8 MW from landfill methane in July 2005, and its capacity was expanded in 2007 and 2009.
"By replacing the existing scrubber system we can remove harmful siloxane compounds from the gas stream, which will greatly reduce maintenance activities and improve output while lowering emissions," Richards said. " We are projecting we'll be able to produce up to 70 percent of WEC's energy needs while improving air quality. That is great for WEC, our members, Vermont and the environment, and we are proud to take these steps."
The financing follows IRS action last year to reallocate nearly $281 million in New CREBs for eligible renewable energy projects owned by electric cooperatives.
New CREBs come with a direct payment option allowing cooperatives to issue a bond at a fixed interest rate to CFC and then receive a payment from the U.S. Treasury over the term of the bond . The effective cost of CFC's financing is based on its New CREBs interest rate less the federal subsidy payment received by the electric cooperative.
Find more information about WEC's landfill gas to energy generating facility here.
Stowe, Vt. now has network of 10 EV charging stations
EV charging station in Stowe Village, Vt.
Stowe Electric Department this fall received praise from state and local officials for the utility's commitment to clean energy investments, including a network of 10 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations throughout Stowe.
The stations are part of a town-wide effort to support EV use, while providing a draw for EV owners to visit the area and support local businesses. Grant funding supported the eight most recent installations. Stowe Electric also recently completed a 1 MW solar photovoltaic facility.
"Both the solar facility and the electric vehicle charging station program emerged from a years-long commitment to providing our customers with clean energy and the latest services while also keeping a close eye on costs," said Ellen Burt, Stowe Electric's General Manager.
Customer Service leaders sharpen their skills

Customer Service leaders gathered at the NEPPA Training Center in Littleton, Mass. for two days in November to sharpen their professional skills at our Customer Service Leadership program.
Led by Rockie Blunt, the program focused on the knowledge and techniques needed to serve customers confidently and professionally, including everything from customer expectations to handling negative news and intense situations.
"Really liked the open discussions," said one participant. "Rockie was very personable and kept the class entertaining while bringing the message across," said another. "Dynamite program!"
PUMP program hosts 18 students this fall

New PUMP graduates are, from left, Jason Lavallee of Paxton, Mass. Municipal Light Department, Ron Scofield and Mike Adams of East Norwalk, Conn. Third Taxing District, Beth Burns of Westfield, Mass. Gas & Electric Department, and Chris Roy of Concord, Mass. Municipal Light Plant.
The Public Utility Management Program (PUMP), now in its twenty-fourth year, hosted 18 students this fall including six who completed the program's two-part curriculum.
Topics covered in this session included employee reviews, energy efficiency, community outreach, bankruptcies, current issues, legislative advocacy and, for the first time, a "field trip" to ISO New England to view the control room and learn about the inner workings of our RTO.
Watch for details on the next PUMP program, scheduled for March 29-31, 2017.
Chip Gent retires after 36 years at Concord Light

Lead Lineworker Chip Gent of the Concord, Mass. Municipal Light Plant recently retired after 36 years of service at CMLP. "Probably the most rewarding aspect of the job is restoring power safely and efficiently after major storms," he said before his retirement, adding that it was especially satisfying when customers gave him their personal thanks.

Roundtable focuses on security and safety

Our November General Foremens Roundtable drew some 30 participants to our Training Center in Littleton, Mass. where the program focused on security and safety.
David Cullen of Intelligence Security International (ISI) led the morning session with a discussion of physical security at electric utilities, including some lesser-known vulnerabilities that might bring unwanted exposure to many of NEPPA's members.
Kathy Castro, Mike Wall and Adam Houghton of ControlPoint Technologies later covered some of the dangers and concerns of members who have solar installations connected to their distribution lines where, despite safeguards, the possibility of dangerous feedback is always a possibility.
NEPPA thanks all presenters and participants for their effort and lively discussions. If you would like to suggest a topic for a future roundtable, please email Steve Socoby at .
APPA has two new papers available and more   

A suite of new APPA-produced resources is now available on APPA's   Public Power Forward webpage . Visit the site to see all the new material, including these two papers in the Rate Design section:
Rate Design Options for Distributed Energy Resources  explains how Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) impact utility revenue recovery, and offers several alternative rate design options, and the pros and cons of each approach.
The Value of Solar Primer provides an overview of methods utilities and analysts have used for value of solar (VOS) studies, explains why different studies have produced disparate results, and discusses the pros and cons of adapting a VOS tariff.

In the Communities
Taunton workers show off their pink helmets.

Taunton, Mass. supports breast cancer awareness

Pink helmets were a common sight in Taunton, Mass. this fall, when workers from the Taunton Municipal Light Plant swapped out their regular headgear to support National Breast Cancer Awareness month.
"I had never seen pink (utility) helmets before, but (NEPPA affiliate member) Irby brought them to a tool demonstration day," said Greg Santos, TMLP's Meter Supervisor. The idea to show community support this way was quickly embraced, he said, and Taunton soon had 40 very visible helmets for workers to wear throughout the month of October.
"We got lots of positive feedback from the community," Santos said about the eye-catching helmets. "People were waving and blowing their horns, although we didn't know why at first," he chuckled.
Plans are in place to continue the new tradition next October. "We're very close to the community," Santos said about TMLP workers. "It's nice to be a part of it."

 In The News
Obama admin OKs linking Canadian hydro to New England   
Hannah Northey, E&E News reporter
Published: Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Obama administration today granted a presidential permit for a proposed cross-border transmission line that will pump 1,000 megawatts of Canadian hydropower into energy-hungry New England.

The Department of Energy issued a permit for the construction and operation of the New England Clean Power Link.

Transmission Developers Inc. is pursuing the buried transmission line, which the company says has now obtained all needed permits from ISO New England, the regional grid operator.

The high-voltage direct current transmission line is slated to run from the Canadian border at Alburgh, Vt., to Ludlow, Vt., along underwater and underground routes. The underwater portion will be buried in the bed of Lake Champlain.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) said the project, when constructed, will help the region reduce carbon emissions and benefit ratepayers.

Blackstone Senior Managing Director Sean Klimczak said the project would support a forthcoming Massachusetts clean energy solicitation for 1,200 MW of baseload hydropower and onshore wind.

DOE issued the permit after conferring with the departments of State and Defense, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Coast Guard, and U.S. EPA.

The Vermont Public Service Board previously issued Section 248 and Section 231 permits for the project, and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the corps issued nine other water quality permits, the company said.

 New Members

Encore Renewable Energy has joined NEPPA as a Corporate member. The company is a leading integrated clean energy company focused on commercial, industrial, and community-scale solar PV systems and 21st century solutions for the redevelopment of underutilized property. Contact President/CEO Chad Farrell at 802-233-3937 or For more information visit 
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority , a public water and wastewater facility,is a new NEPPA Corporate member. Contact Maintenance Manager Eben Nash at 508-424-3669 or . For more information visit
iRestore is now a NEPPA Associate member. They offer a smart device app that gives first responders the ability to report emergency situations quickly, and to send photographs of infrastructure damage to key personnel. Watch a video on how the app works here. Contact Executive Vice President & COO Michael Haeflich at 860-670-6661 or email For more information visit

 Upcoming Events

Public Utility Management Program, March 29-31, 2017
Details to come.

Engineering & Operations Conference, May 10-11, 2017

Annual Conference, August 20-23, 2017
Newport, RI Marriott
Details to come.

 Training and Education
2017 Advanced Lineworker Program  1/10-13, 1/31-2/3, 2/28 - 3/3, 3/21-24
Substation I 3/28-31, 4/25-28, 5/23-26, 6/27-30
Substation II, 9/19-22, 10/21-27, 11/14-17; 12/19 -22

Metering I 3/27, 4/24, 5/22, 6/26
Metering II 8/14, 8/28, 9/18, 10/2, 10/23, 11/13, 12/4, 12/18

Legislative Update

Election 2016:
Trump elected President, reversing outlook for Clean Power Plan and dimming chances for energy bill, boosting chances of tax reform...

Markets: FERC pushes further into retail functions with new proposals, Watchdog group calls for review of new PJM rules...

Nuclear: Senate holds hearing on nuclear power, action on spent fuel possible in 2017...