The Merrimac Light Department appreciates all the outpouring of support regarding Article 1. On Monday, April 24 at 7:30pm the fate of Article 1 will be decided. If you have never been to a Town meeting, please see the link to the Secretary of State Town Meeting guidelines.
If you have specific questions regarding Article 1, please see the letter below from Commissioner Norman Denault. Commissioner Denault can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We here at Merrimac Light Department want to thank you in advance for your continued support and interest in the light department. We are here to serve you our customer/owner to safe, reliable, low-cost energy
Dear Merrimac Light Customers:
As the Chairman of the Merrimac Light Department, I am writing to inform you that the Board of Selectmen at their March 27, 2023 Board Meeting voted to place a warrant at Town Meeting to begin the process of selling the Light Department. The Warrant is now Article 1 and will be voted on at the Monday, April 24th town meeting held at 7:30pm at the Sweetsir School Cafeteria 102 Church Street.
The Light Commissioners are opposed to the sale and were never consulted regarding the effects of a sale on the Town or to you as our ratepayers. The sale would immediately create higher utility bills since National Grid would most likely be the ultimate purchaser. On our website, ratepayers can compare Merrimac utility bill compared to National Grid. On average the National Grid rate is 40% higher than Merrimac Light.
As for reliability, Merrimac Light recently received an American Public Power Association excellence award for reliability. If we do experience an outage, which is rare, the average time without service is less than four minutes whereas the private providers regional outage time is 45 minutes.
As your Commissioner, I have worked closely with the staff in the Light Department to ensure that we provide you with the best possible customer service. Unlike National Grid who must answer to their stock shareholders, we answer to you, our customers/owners.
The vote at the 24th town meeting is vital to preserving the future of Merrimac Light Department. We need to send a message loud and clear that we support our Light Department and make it clear that it is not for sale. Please vote no to Article 1 on the town meeting agenda.
Merrimac Light Department
We obtained a legal response that a “Yes” vote on the Article would mean: G.L. c. 164 Sections 36 and 68 provide for the requirements to be met by a town in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts therefore, a yes vote on the Article by two thirds of the voters at the April 24 Town Meeting would satisfy the requirement of the “first” vote under section 36 and a “yes” vote at a second Town Meeting on the same article by two thirds of the voters would fulfill the Town authorization required under Section 36 to sell the Light Plant.
In the name of the Commonwealth of MA, you are hereby required to notify and warn the voters of the Town of Merrimac to meet in the Sweetsir School Cafeteria, 102 Church St. Merrimac, on April 24, 2023 at 7:30 PM.
Article 1: To see, in accordance with G.L. c. 164, if the Town will vote to sell the Electric Light Department including all of its real, personal and tangible assets; or take any other action relative thereto. This vote must be taken by a ballot and requires two thirds vote, at each of two town meetings called therefor and held at intervals of not less than two nor more than thirteen months. If the first of such votes is favorable and the second unfavorable, or if both such votes are unfavorable, no similar vote shall be passed within two years thereafter. No sale of such a plant shall be made for any purpose until the department, after notice and a public hearing, has determined that the facilities for furnishing and distributing gas and electricity in the territory served by such plant will not thereby be diminished, and that such sale and the terms thereof are consistent with the public interest.
Rationale: This article will begin the process to see if the town would like to sell the Electric Light Department. Per the request of the Board of Selectmen.
Selectmen Recommendation: Yes 3 – 0