Haverhill’s Electricity Supplier Pulls the Plug on New Enrollments; Mayor says 16,000 will Still Benefit

The City of Haverhill’s discount energy supplier pulled the plug Thursday—at least temporarily—on some residents hoping to save hundreds each month on home electricity costs. Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini and Energy Consultant Orlando Pacheco told the public Tuesday night that those who were not automatically enrolled in the city program for whatever reason could still “opt in” on Marlborough-based Colonial Power Group’s website. By Thursday morning, 363 people took advantage of the chance to join before the company closed the option. “The current supplier for the City of Haverhill’s Community Choice Power Supply Program has informed us that, given the extraordinarily high energy costs in the current market, they will not add any new customers to the aggregation and will not be processing any OPT-IN forms. They have said that adding new customers will jeopardize the entire aggregation for everyone,” a statement read. It turns out, the city’s contract with the supplier, Residents Energy, allowed the company to halt new enrollments, saying it “does not guarantee that any individual Eligible Consumer will be served by the Competitive Supplier.”

Attorney General Maura Healey’s office told WHAV it has some concerns and is seeking more information.

Councilors Call on Haverhill Mayor, State and Federal Legislators to Find Money for Drug Treatment

The Haverhill City Council is looking for new strategies and alternative sources of income to help fight the problem of drug addiction in the community. Recent legislation signed by Gov. Charlie Baker will likely eliminate the 3% impact fees local governments are collecting from adult-use cannabis stores in their cities—money that was earmarked in many cases for addiction treatment services. City Councilor Melissa J. Lewandowski said Tuesday, while that revenue source is drying up, the problem is not going away. “We have a substance abuse problem here in Haverhill. Our rates are above state average.

Haverhill Student MCAS Scores Echo Post-Pandemic State Results, Losing Ground in English

Haverhill school officials aren’t relishing the latest MCAS scores, but appear to largely agree with the state that much was lost during the pandemic and, as uttered by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, “show continued need for improvement.”

State education officials Thursday released 2022 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System results, providing the second overview of statewide learning since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Haverhill improved overall in math and science, but like many communities across the state, lost ground in English language arts in the category of “meeting or exceeding expectations.”

“The latest MCAS results demonstrate that Haverhill students and students statewide are struggling to recover from pandemic learning loss. Given the interruptions in learning over nearly three years, it’s so important that students attend school every day unless they’re sick. It’s also why I will continue to fight for every penny of the Student Opportunity Act received from the state to be used to support students and close the achievement gap,” said Haverhill School Committee member Richard J. Rosa. According to state figures, roughly a quarter of Haverhill students met or exceeded expectations in English compared with almost a third last year.

Elderly Woman Dies After Being Struck By Car Monday Night Near Downtown Haverhill

A 79-year-old woman was killed early Monday night after being struck by a car near downtown Haverhill. According to a Haverhill police log, officers were dispatched to a reported motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian at 8:47 p.m., on Winter Street, near the intersection with Locust Street. Carrie Kimball, spokesperson for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett, told WHAV, the as-yet unidentified woman was struck by a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta. She was first taken to Lawrence General Hospital and then to Tufts Medical Center in Boston where she later died. Kimball said no charges have been filed against the driver, but the accident remains under investigation by Haverhill and Massachusetts State Police.

Rocks Village Bridge Reopens Oct. 10; Haverhill Councilor Says Repair Costs Justify Truck Ban

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says the Rocks Village Bridge, between Haverhill and West Newbury, is set to reopen Monday, Oct. 10, after seven months of being out of service. City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan, advocating for a total truck ban on the span over the Merrimack River, plans to discuss his research at next week’s City Council meeting. After reaching out to the state Transportation Department, Sullivan said in an email, he has the evidence to support the truck exclusion. “Hoping that by showing the millions of dollars spent on bridge reconstruction and repairs multiple times since then, the state will have to come up with a better solution than more signage and barrier bars on each side of the bridge,” Sullivan said.

Haverhill Police and Fire Ready for Annual Heroes and Helpers Program to Aid Families

Haverhill police and firefighters are preparing once again to take children shopping for the upcoming holidays. The Heroes and Helpers program, hosted by the Haverhill Police Department and Haverhill Firefighters Local 1011, is now in its fourth year. Through the program, School Resource Officers Milady Figueroa, Nicole Donnelly and Gillian Privitera along with their team leader Sgt. Kevin Lynch, identify needy children throughout the community and take them Christmas shopping for their families at the local Target store. Speaking before the City Council earlier this week, Haverhill Police Chief Robert P. Pistone said last year’s event provided a $100 shopping spree for 100 children and he is hopeful this year’s program will surpass that.

Haverhill Residents Could Save $200 Monthly on Electric Bills with City Plan, but Should Check Bills

While the cost of electricity is expected to skyrocket this winter, some Haverhill residents will be spared from an increase in their monthly bill because of a plan enacted by the city two years ago. The Energy Aggregation Plan bundles electrical users into a group who then look for a better rate by buying in bulk. Mayor James J. Fiorentini gave an overview to the City Council Tuesday night. “An Energy Aggregation Plan is: we put all of the residential electric consumers into a bucket, then go out to bid and says if we bundle all of them together, could we get a lower electric rate?” he explained. The mayor said, while the plan has backfired at times, this year, with rates expected to increase by as much as 61%, Haverhill residents in the plan have locked in a rate of 10.8 cents per kilowatt hour—a figure that will likely translate to a savings of more than $200 per month.

Updated: Haverhill Police Investigate Gunshots that Damaged Mount Washington Home

Haverhill Police are investigating gunshots, apparently fired early Tuesday morning, that struck a home in the Mount Washington neighborhood. Haverhill Deputy Police Chief Stephen J. Doherty Jr. told WHAV there were no injuries reported, but damage was observed at the building near the corner of Beacon and Central Streets. “We don’t know the specifics of the type of firearm used,” Doherty said. He said police had no suspects as of the start of its investigation Tuesday afternoon. A resident also reported gunshot damage to a car.