How the co-op responds
As a non-profit member-owned organization, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative focuses all our business actions on providing services that meet the expectations of all consumers. Employees are proud that the approximately 80,000 NHEC consumers recognized our 2007 performance with an American Customer Satisfaction Index score of 75, among the highest of participating utilities in New England. We have taken great strides since the turn of the new millennium to implement new processes and systems that balance short-term and long-term electricity delivery services. Two key achievements in 2000, regulatory choice and member choice, enabled the co-op’s members to first vote for regulation by the board of directors vs. the state Public Utilities Commission and, secondly, to select an energy provider of their choice. The first action has annually decreased regulatory expenses and reduced the cycle time to make key business decisions, both leading to improved and timely member services, such as an extensive deployment of distribution automation equipment and an aggressive tree-trimming program that are improving service reliability. The second action has enabled members to shop opportunities in the electricity marketplace for the best price or desired energy source, such as “green power,” and has enabled NHEC to build a “Co-op Power” portfolio that increasingly is adding renewable sources of energy. Since 2002, we have offered a comprehensive array of energy-efficiency programs to assist residential and commercial consumers to use electricity wisely. This highly successful initiative has received national recognition. Because NHEC’s moderate level of equity demonstrates that we are an acceptable business risk, we are able to economically secure required insurances, shop effectively in the energy marketplace, acquire necessary new construction materials at competitive prices and obtain needed finances at reasonable rates and terms. All of these actions now lower what our operating expenses might otherwise be and enable us to allocate resources to creatively respond to current member expectations. Ray Gosney is vice president of strategy and government relations for the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative.