Facilities manager: Electric deal could save MAU thousands

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BENNINGTON — The Mount Anthony Union School Board has approved a proposal that could save the schools significant money on their energy bills.

MAU Facilities Director Paul Dansereau approached the board on Wednesday seeking approval to enter into a curtailable load program with Green Mountain Power that he said could save the district thousands each month.

"They (Green Mountain Power) know that there are certain days of the months, primarily during the time of 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the winter and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the summer, when they're going to have the largest demand on the systems," said Dansereau, "So they're looking at, if we're able to shed load during those peak demand hours, we will have a different billing rate on our monthly bills."

Under the program, according to documentation on Green Mountain Power's website, eligible commercial and industrial customers opt in and have the peak billing demand portion of their bill tied to the highest 15 minute usage during a curtailable load period, in order to discourage heavy power use during those periods. The non-peak billing demand would still be based off the overall highest 15-minute peak during the billing period. A curtailable period is, "The period of hours in a billing month that GMP, in its sole discretion, determines there is a substantial potential that a monthly system peak will occur, and additional hours that GMP, in its sole discretion, determines that there is substantial potential that Expected Energy Prices may exceed $100/MWh. There will be at least one period declared every 30 days."

He said this program works out very well for the schools, at which the peak electricity usage hours tend to fall between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Dansereau said that over the last three months Green Mountain Power has been providing him with a summary of what the schools are paying now and what they would be paying under a curtailable load agreement. "Each month there's approximately a $1,500 to $1,900 savings. Extrapolated over time, I think annual savings for the high school could be up to $18,000, and the middle school $13,000," he said.

Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union Superintendent Jim Culkeen said that a school he worked with in Massachusetts had entered into a similar agreement. "The reason why this works for a school system is their peak load, their peak demand, is usually when we're away, like over the summer months," he said.

"As I understand it, there would be no outlay of cash from us," said MAU Board Chairman Tim Holbrook, who called for a motion to approve joining the curtailable load program. The motion was made and passed without any dissenting opinions.

Reach staff writer Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122 or @DerekCarsonBB

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