Changing Energy Marketplace Slows 2 ‘Green’ Projects in Haverhill

The constantly changing regulatory and financial landscape of the energy industry has caused a lag in getting two projects designed to help Haverhill save money and go green.

Energy consultant Orlando Pacheco told city councilors this week that the city’s plan to purchase rather than lease streetlights from National Grid has been delayed by a secondary concern about LED bulbs for those lights. And the expiration of tax credits for solar energy panels could affect how much the city can earn from a planned solar array atop the Groveland Road Landfill.

Haverhill had planned to pay a little more than $300,000 to buy the streetlights outright from National Grid, rather than paying monthly or annually to lease the lights.

National Grid then initiated a tariff on the conventional bulbs in the lights, which required the city to send a new set of requests for proposals to retrofit the lights with more energy-efficient LED bulbs.

After receiving and reviewing those proposals, the city was informed that National Grid also could offer LED replacement bulbs, at an annual savings of about $100,000 on energy costs, Pacheco said.

However, Pacheco said the city is also looking at all the proposals for hidden costs. Since the city would now own the lights, the contract will have to include costs for maintenance and replacement of lights when they burn out.

Although LED lights have much longer lifespans, there will be times when bulbs will need to be changed, either because of malfunction or breakage in accidents or inclement weather, for instance, said City Council Vice President Melinda Barrett.

Pacheco said the city could save money by waiting until there are several lights that need changing, and having the contractor come and do all at once.

But Barrett and Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua urged Pacheco to pay close attention to the terms of the contract when it comes to response times for replacing lights, saying they don’t want to see customers having to wait to have lights replaced in front of their homes.

In Bradford at the now-closed Groveland Road Landfill, the city continues to look at potential vendors two years after the city’s first choice, Sun Edison, declared bankruptcy and sought concessions from the city that it was unwilling to meet.

Pacheco said the solar market isn’t as attractive as it was when Haverhill first looked into the solar farm at the Bradford site, however he said he still expects to be able to come to an agreement with a company to lease the land to set up solar panels. If the city and the company can’t come to an agreement about a purchase price for the energy that’s created, the company could find another buyer, Pacheco said.


3 thoughts on “Changing Energy Marketplace Slows 2 ‘Green’ Projects in Haverhill

  1. Is the city now paying Orlando Pacheco to be a consultant? While employed as a purchasing agent/energy manager for the city he was a blatant liar over and over about the savings on energy projects. I asked the question many times but never got an answer about his compensation being tied to the proposed savings he brought through the projects the city took on, He lied about the 30% savings homeowners would get through an energy aggregation program, he lied about saving $100K/yr by retrofitting lights at city hall, and he especially lied about savings from solar projects at HHS and Tilton School.

    How many street lights is the city thinking about purchasing? Calculating saving per KWH is simple math, yet no one seems to know what they’re talking about.

  2. Wow. All seems the norm in happy town. The management of the city needs to have light shed upon it, just like the the streets need their light. Just keep the lights on and while you are at it, can you put real light bulbs that actually provide some light ?