October 15, 2021
The Cloud Doesn’t Need to be Cloudy
Many towns and cities in Maine are buying back their streetlights from the state’s two major Investor-Owned Utilities (IOU) Central Maine Power and Emera, to reduce costs and gain control over the way their communities are lit. RealTerm Energy is proud to have been selected to assist with this process and to provide a complete LED streetlight conversion by 22 such communities to date.
The Main State Legislature passed a bill in 2013, Lowering Costs to Municipalities & Reducing Energy Consumption through Competition in the Municipal Street Light Market, that allowed local municipalities the option of controlling and managing their streetlights. The bill granted the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) the authority to determine the final rules on how the process would work. The new law gives municipalities three options: do nothing and continue to lease the lights from the utility companies, purchase the lights and have the utility companies continue maintenance, or take over both the control and maintenance of lights. The bill also states how a municipality may be charged for the utility infrastructure services provided, how the location of street and area lighting will be provided, and the methods for determining the electricity delivery charges.
Switching over to locally controlled lights saves energy, creates options for proper fixture selection and design, and offers greater flexibility regarding placement and removal. First out of the gates were the communities of Biddeford, Falmouth, Rockland and South Portland. In fact, Falmouth Town Manager, Nathan Poore, has been involved in helping push forward the legislation and the PUC process since 2002! RealTerm was excited to be named the winner of the Biddeford group RFP in 2016 and has been working with this pioneering group since then. Falmouth has published all of the details of the RFP selection process on their website, which has resulted in an informal procurement piggy-back structure making it easier for other municipalities to engage with RTE without having to launch their own formal RFP. Lastly, the Biddeford group’s commercial terms was RTE’s first foray into an Open Book Cost Plus contractual structure. RTE has since replicated and modified this transparent pricing structure to facilitate direct procurement opportunities with other municipalities outside of Maine.
As a first mover in this market, RTE has had the opportunity to shape the way municipalities will be interfacing with the states/primary utilities, CMP and Emera during the conversion process. RTE’s first mover status has also made it easier to secure a leading position in this small but lucrative market.
RealTerm’s innovative Investment Grade Audit (IGA) process has proven invaluable to both the municipalities and the utilities navigating this process. The IGA includes extensive field investigations, infrastructure analysis, comprehensive lighting designs, and detailed engineering calculations to project accurate and reliable energy and maintenance savings. The results help clarify who owns what, and what the costs of ownership transfer will be, and the exact scope of the conversion to LED.
Since the Biddeford RFP was released, many other communities have followed suit as they want to benefit from cost reductions, improved lighting, and more local autonomy. Like RealTerm, these communities are committed to excellent lighting design and to maximizing the lifecycle value of their assets. We are extremely pleased to have been selected by the communities of: Biddeford, Falmouth, South Portland, Rockland, Wells, York, Dover-Foxcroft, Mt. Desert, Caribou, Houlton, Madawaska, Fort Kent, Fort Fairfield, Frenchville, Washburn, Limestone, Mars Hill, Island Falls, Grans Isle, Presque Isle, Agatha, Mapleton.
Contact Paul Vesel at [email protected] or (413) 695-0045 for more information.
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