Hydro Deal to Ease North Country HS Power Bill

NEWPORT, VT - The high school board has agreed to enter into a contract with Missisquoi River Hydro to purchase power from the North Troy generation plant. The agreement is expected to save the high school 10% of their electric costs or up to $1800 per month.The State of Vermont has a “net metering” program that encourages the development of green energy sources by allowing, in this instance, the hydro company to partner with power users to make the energy more affordable. The high school will purchase electricity at a 10% discount versus what they would have paid VEC for the same usage.The utility is planning to file a Certificate of Public Good before the Public Service Board as part of their goal to bring a hydro electric dam online in North Troy. The project is expected to produce approximately 1.3 megawatts of power annually.All the risk in terms of the cost of construction or liability issues are the responsibility of Missisquoi River Hydro (MRH) and MRH retains sole ownership. Other organizations will also partner with MRH to take advantage of the energy savings.N.C. Career Center interim Director Eileen Illuzzi endorsed the agreement as it will also provide educational opportunities for high school students. The career center has a sustainable energy program and this arrangement will allow students access to the workings of a hydro power plant as a part of their curriculum.An additional benefit of contracting with MRH is if the project produces more power than anticipated, the junior high school may be able to join the agreement, which will produce additional savings to area taxpayers.Business manager Glen Hankinson estimates the partnership could produce savings up to $20,000 per year. He also noted that U-32 High School has already agreed to a similar arrangement with another area hydro electric project, so a partnership between a private utility and the high school is not unique.The board unanimously agreed to join with MRH in their effort to secure a Certificate of Public Good.