Please support the Valley News during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy — and many of the advertisers who support our work — to a near standstill. During this unprecedented challenge, we continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at www.vnews.com/coronavirus because we feel our most critical mission is to deliver vital information to our communities.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, we are asking for your support. Please consider subscribing or making a donation today. Learn more at the links below.

Thank you for your support of the Valley News.

Dan McClory, publisher


First-of-its-kind push wants NH Electric Cooperative to become a broadband cooperative, too

Concord Monitor
Published: 6/1/2020 9:55:25 PM
Modified: 6/1/2020 9:55:21 PM

Timing, they say, is everything, and the timing of a push for broadband internet within New Hampshire Electric Cooperative couldn’t be much better.

“The argument is a whole lot easier now than it was a year ago,” said Dick Knox, one of a number of people behind a petition drive at the state’s only electricity cooperative.

A proposal added to the annual board of directors’ balloting, the first such drive in the cooperative’s 81-year history, would change its articles of incorporation to add “facilitating access to broadband internet for members” as a core purpose.

In other words, it says that as long as you’re sending electricity over wires to our home, why not send fast internet over fiber-optic cables — because if there’s one thing the past two months have shown it’s that we all need broadband.

If it passes this would be a first for an electric cooperative in the Northeast, but not nationally. More than 210 electric cooperatives have gotten into the broadband business in other parts of the country, particularly the Upper Midwest, according to a group called Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Cooperatives, which are owned by the customers, are strong in the Plains, where they have stuck around after bringing electricity and telephone services to farm areas a century ago when utilities wouldn’t do it.

The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s board opposed the petition, 7-3, even though they support the goal, because they’re afraid it will cost too much and “divert resources from the co-op’s existing core focus on delivering safe, reliable, affordable electric service to its members.” In a statement, the board said the coop hired a consultant to examine the issue in 2018 and concluded that the downside was too great.

NHEC, headquartered in Plymouth, has about 84,000 customers in 115 communities throughout the state, including parts of Canterbury, Loudon and points north. Most of their service area is rural.

The petition is part of the annual vote for the board of directors. Ballots are going out to members and are due back by June 16. A two-thirds approval is required.




Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784
603-298-8711

 

© 2019 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy