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The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hampton asks Atkinson to request Town Counsel to intervene in Unitil Rate Hikes!


I don't mean to change the subject, but moderator, could you please add this item as a new topic. It has to do with our cost-of-living and cheaters, which is not that far off target. We all know the line from Robert Frost's "The Mending Wall", "Good fences make good neighbours.” I usually try to stay on my side of the stone wall, but every once in a while, the situation begs for action. You'll know immediately who the writer is once you've read the article. Yes, it's Dennis, from The Plaistow NH Town Crier.

The article at the bottom of the page appeared in the online version of the Hampton Union today, buried deep within a column headed "Hampton Around Town". Boy, am I glad that paper has a search feature.

"The Crier" is proposing that Attorney Sumner Kalman prepare to intervene on behalf of residents of Atkinson, Plaistow, Newton, Kingston and East Kingston in the Unitil rate case that is currently before the NH Public Utilities Commission. I can't think of anyone more qualified and more deserving of this honor. I believe it's Unitil Docket DE 10-055. All it takes is a vote of your Board of Selectmen and Sumner will have to attend. And don't delay. There are time limits for requests to intervene.

I hear parts of Danville and Hampstead are also served by Unitil, so they might be interested in joining too. All Unitil towns will have to act soon to get the attention of the bureaucrats and politicians in Concord.

If you go to the NH PUC website, don't miss Unitil's other docket, DE 10-001, covering the Dec 2008 Ice Storm. Check out Councilor Beverly Hollingworth's testimony. She was her usual pro-Unitil self.

Unitil showed us just how inept they were at disaster management during the December 2008 ice storm. Even during this years wind storm there were pleas on behalf of the elderly on Smith Corner Road in Newton. Now they're showing us just how inept they are at managing their own company's finances during a downturn. They never should have handed out bonuses to their executives last year and they should cut investor dividends before demanding a bailout from ratepayers.


"Hampton intervenes in Unitil rate hike case

Selectmen voted unanimously this week to intervene in the Unitil Corporation's rate hike request this week in order to stay abreast of the case and its potential impact on Hampton residents.

The Hampton-based company filed a request Friday, April 16, with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission to increase its electric distribution charges, the fees associated with delivering electricity to customers, by as much as 9 percent.

The company is also seeking a temporary rate hike that would generate $6.7 million in additional revenue and go into effect on or about July 1, while the case is being heard.

Unitil spokeswoman Carol Valianti said the rate hike was necessitated because expenses have increased while revenues have declined.

She said costs have risen for property taxes, depreciation and storm restoration, including two of the most devastating events in New Hampshire history.

The company said sales are down because of increased energy efficiency in homes and a downturn in the national economy, according to the filing with the PUC.

— Patrick Cronin"


Anonymous said...

Well, I'll jump in! It's about time Town Attorney Kalman were forced to eat his own dog food. And he should do this for area residents pro bono.

Anonymous said...

Who is looking out for the residents of Atkinson? Time to put aside our differences for once and kill this electric rate increase.

I just came from the NH Public Utilities Commission website.

Let's see if I've got this straight. Unitil wants US residents to pay more for power because THEIR electric sales are off due to OUR efforts at conservation and a recession that effects US all. Taxes have gone up since THEIR last rate increase back in 2006. Well whoopie! Some of US haven't had a raise since 2006. And, News Flash, they've had some problems lately with the weather. Really? And to add insult to injury, they claim that large electric customers like, factories, businesses, shopping centers, schools, hospitals, towns and cities that qualify for the NH PUC's "Electric Choice" program are switching suppliers in droves from Unitil to cheaper 3rd party power brokers, which is cutting into THEIR sales and profits. Unitil's rate increase is targeted directly at US. So what should residential customers like ourselves who have no access to these cost saving "Electric Choice" programs do? Start by contacting OUR Selectmen. Bill Bennett has been quite critical of Unitil in the past. Friel and Childs haven't been as vocal on the subject. Maybe it's time to draw them out? I think OUR town should intervene for the exact same reason Hampton did: for the residents. And don't forget to contact OUR Representative, James Garrity. After all, he IS on the House Science, Technology and ENERGY Committee.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if Kalman would be the best choice for this. But, they better send someone up to Concord to keep an eye on Unitil. We shouldn't be paying for their neverending troubles. But, silly me, we live in the Town of Atkinson, where Selectmen have shown us time and time again they're more concerned with themselves and the Chief than our pocketbooks.

Anonymous said...

Kalman won't do anything unless he is directed by the Selectmen and I bet they do nothing.

Anonymous said...

I do not think the Selectmen have jurisdiction here... I think the State Reps and Senators are where complaints should be directed since rates are overseen by a state agency.

MAcciard said...

The selectmen have the authority to direct Town Counsel to intervene on the Town's behalf.

Anonymous said...

Maybe so, but I'll bet they won't. There has been a list of important issues they should have been all over. Rsidents give them a head's up but they don't act. Even when you give them all the pertinent ion, they don't read it.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Bennett takes his clues from the rumor mill, not the facts. If the Chief doesn't tell him what to think, he doesn't. I am disappointed in his lack of objectivity and wonder how he managed to work as an engineer.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Bennett can ask his friend about the street light in his yard, complete with a telephone pole that exactly matches those on Main St. They even come on at exactly the same momnet! Wow, imagine how difficult it was to synchronize them to the Town lights? Unless....are they tied together? Who is in charge of getting approvals for street lights anyway?

Anonymous said...

Would you also have the Selectmen intervene if the ice cream stand raised their prices?

C'mon folks... fight your own battles instead of blaming others for NOT acting on your behalf.

The prior poster who listed Rep Gerrity's info had it right. That's where the complaints should go... plus perhaps our Senator and the Commission. Show up to public hearings yourselves.

The Selectmen have plenty on their plate with local matters.

Anonymous said...

Mr April 26, 2010 12:12 PM:

This is a little more important than buying an ice cream cone. If I don't like the price for ice cream down the street, then I can buy it elsewhere. With electricity you cannot. Our Public Utilities Commission permits electric utilities to receive up to a 9.97% return on investment. Unitil maintains that it's now down to a 6.5% return and they deserve more of our money. This is just the first of several increases coming. Sure it doesn't add up to much for one home, but if you add it all up year after year it drains a lot of money out of Atkinson. Besides, you'd think our Chief and the Selectmen would be all for an intervention, after all, it's the Chief's donation fund and the largess of the town that's picking up the cost of the elderly's utilities when they get behind.


Anonymous said...

We have no impact before PUC. The Town does! It IS their duty

Anonymous said...

What follows below is from the PUC website under Regulatory.

Nothing in here suggests (to me) that "the town" has special pull, responsibility or standing with the PUC except I presume as a customer (just like all of us).

No one yet has suggested a letter-writing campaign, or mass-attendance at a PUC public hearing, or other activist efforts. If it means so much to you, get involved yourself.

Don't whine because the Selectmen don't fight YOUR battles.

PUC Regulatory website text follows

The Public Utilities Commission regulates public utilities as defined in RSA 362:2 and their affiliates as defined in RSA 366:1, II. Typically, these are investor-owned electric, telephone, natural gas, water, sewer, and steam utilities. The Commission is the arbiter between the interests of these utilities and their customers. The regulatory process necessarily requires public hearings, audits of public utilities and other forms of inquiry and investigation to ensure that high quality service is provided by the utilities at rates that are just and reasonable for both the customer and the utility.

The Commission investigates issues ranging from existing or proposed rates, charges, and classifications, rules and regulations, financings and other utility regulatory matters to the acquisition of utility plant by municipalities. These may be the subject of informal investigations or formal hearings in which the Commissioners sit in a quasi-judicial capacity. There are certain issues that, by statute, require a hearing. Hearings before the Commission are open to the public and are transcribed by a court reporter. After a hearing is held, the Commissioners take the record that has been presented and deliberate a decision which is then written into an order. The three Commissioners decide by majority vote the matters that come before them. The decisions are announced at weekly deliberative meetings and the minutes of these meetings are posted to the Commission’s web site. Final orders are issued and are also posted to the Commission’s web site. Commission orders are appealable to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

The Commission is also responsible for promulgating rules and regulations governing all utilities subject to its jurisdiction. The Commission has regulatory authority over safety standards and practices of all pipeline facilities for the transportation of gas within the State.

Anonymous said...

This has gone well beyond the letter writing stage, Mr April 26, 2010 3:42 PM. Unitil and The NH PUC need to have a room full of lawyers breathing down their necks.
They just laugh at the people. We've already seen this with FairPoint Communications. Anyway, thanks for your well-intended suggestion, Sir. Your last name isn't Springer, by any chance? No? Must have been the RSA quote that threw me.

Anonymous said...

A limit of 9.97 % for profit allowance seems at least some what reasonable. Unitil claimes to be down at the 6.5 level and wants more money.
Did they care about the costs and loss of profits before the storm[s]?
Of course not!! All they cared about is the investor return and the executives fat yearly checks and other bonuses they get. My thinking is that our elected local & state officials should be well aware of the electorates outrage having lived the electrical outages themselves!!
They should be doing their best to tell Unitil to get out or take a profit loss for a year or two. That way they would have to fix the problems related to storm damage in the towns and cities they serve or else leave them for some other company to take over. If they were to do their jobs we wouldn't have to pay lawyers fees every time some thing goes wrong in any circumstance related to the publics safety and well being. Am I forgetting that they are part of the public domain as you and I? I think not but it does seem they have and at our expense!!!!!

if the officials did their jobs as we want them to do then we wouldn't have to hire any lawyers to represent us.

Anonymous said...

Town of Atkinson, allow me to introduce myself. I'm one of the victims of your insincere, garrulous subliminal psywar campaigns. As a note of explanation for other readers of this letter: Town of Atkinson's bread-and-butter tactics generally involve destroying our moral fiber. One of my objectives for this letter is to weed out organizations like Town of Atkinson that have deceived, betrayed, and exploited us. Although the Battle of Waterloo may have been won on the playing fields of Eton I, hardheaded cynic that I am, nevertheless profess that Town of Atkinson complains a lot. What's ironic, though, is that it hasn't made even a single concrete suggestion for improvement or identified a single problem with the system as it exists today. I'm no psychiatrist. Still, from the little I know about psychiatry I can really say that Town of Atkinson seems to exhibit many of the symptoms of Asperger's syndrome. I don't say that to judge but merely to put Town of Atkinson's avaricious, rude inclinations into perspective.

Town of Atkinson has been known to "prove" statistically that it's perfectly safe to drink and drive. As you might have suspected, its proof is flawed. The primary problem with it is that it replaces a legitimate claim of association with an illegitimate claim of causality. Consequently, Town of Atkinson's "proof" demonstrates only that its sycophants always show a streak of cruelty that enables them to find pleasure in their destructiveness. (The merits of its memoranda won't be discussed here because they lack merit.) Show me where it says Town of Atkinson has the right to hurt people's feelings. I don't just claim that Town of Atkinson is hopelessly in love with the sound of its own voice; I can back that up with facts. For instance, Town of Atkinson's bruta fulmina are a load of bunk. I use this delightfully pejorative term, "bunk"—an alternative from the same page of my criminal-slang lexicon would serve just as well—because we must remove our chains and move towards the light. (In case you didn't understand that analogy, the chains symbolize Town of Atkinson's quasi-harebrained zingers and the light represents the goal of getting all of us to carry out this matter to the full extent of the law.)

Town of Atkinson thinks that the only way to expand one's mind is with drugs—or maybe even chocolate. However, pigheaded, brassbound prima donnas like it tend to conveniently ignore the key issues of this or any other situation. Town of Atkinson contends that its views won't be used for political retribution and that, therefore, mediocrity and normalcy are ideal virtues. This bizarre pattern of thinking leads to strange conclusions. For example, it convinces confused flakes (as distinct from the wishy-washy stuffed shirts who prefer to chirrup while hopping from cloud to cloud in Nephelococcygia) that Town of Atkinson's beliefs will spread enlightenment to the masses, nurture democracy, reestablish the bonds of community, bring us closer to God, and generally work to the betterment of Man and society. In reality, contrariwise, I find it necessary, if I am to meet my reader on something like a common ground of understanding, to point out that if I may be so bold, throughout history, there has been a clash between those who wish to build a true community of spirit and purpose based on mutual respect and caring and those who wish to exploit the general public's short attention span in order to muster enough force to make human life negligible and cheap. Naturally, Town of Atkinson belongs to the latter category. Still, the issue of what to do about Town of Atkinson's gloomy words is far from settled. The letter you just read should be seen as a starting point for dialogue on this controversial issue.

Anonymous said...

Hello Anonymous said... April 26, 2010 9:27 PM

You sounds like you're filibustering for Unitil. We were talking about Unitil's grand plan to make ratepayers pay for ice and wind storm damage and their total financial malfeasance. Plus, how our Selectmen are just kicking back in their chairs and letting it all happen. Do you work for Unitil or one of their their contractors, like Asplundh or Reed and Sons?

Now, just in case you're serious. And I believe you could be. Tell us more about how you've been victimized by our town? Your story could be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Anonymous said...

Plaistow seems to have its own issues with Sleectmen now. perhaps its on its way to becoming the next Atkinson???


Anonymous said...

Unitil just reported a serious drop in income during the January -March quarter. 6 million dollars verses 9 million in the 2009 quarter. And Q1 is historically their best quarter. And quess who they want to make 'em good again? Yes, you guessed it. It's us. Rate increases are on tap for the next 18 months. Boy, if you can't make a decent profit selling electricity and gas during the winter then you better pack it up. Maybe it's those 7% dividends they have to pay their investors to get them to invest? Highest in the industry! Or the executive bonuses? Those perks should end and the dividends should be cut, before begging customers for any more money.

Anonymous said...

Hey Thanks Anonymous said... April 27, 2010 10:03 AM

Nice one! Now I'm in big trouble over in Plaistow. They think you're me and I'm you and I'm the one that spilled the beans. I'll let you in on a secret. I couldn't care less. This just shows you how Town Boards like Zoning and Planning are used for political purposes. They should all be abolished. I'd email an Eagle Tribune reporter, but somehow I think they already know.

Now for the real reason for this final post:

Getting Even With Unitil 101.

Here's how you get on the NH Public Utilities Commission Service List. Do you know how to use email, cut and past and edit your name in?

Service List Docket DE 10-055
From: Dennis Herrick (
Sent: Wed 4/28/10 10:14 AM

Hello NH PUC:

I'm interested in Dockets DE 10-055, Unitil's Request for a Rate Increase. I'm a member of "Get Rid Of Unitil" organization in Massachusetts. As a member from New Hampshire, I've been asked to monitor all Unitil regulatory activities before the New Hampshire PUC. I will be reporting back to the group in Massachusetts as well as to other concerned citizens in Rockingham County.

Thank you,

Dennis Herrick
19 Tanglewood Drive
East Hampstead, NH

This is the least Selectmen in the Unitil towns and cities should do.

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