- TMLP Launches Even More Green Initiatives
- Customer Satisfaction Rating Hits 97%, Highest in 5 Years
- 40% of TMLP’s Energy Comes from Carbon-friendly Sources
- Net Income increased by over $500,000 in 2008
- General Manager’s Message
- Commissioner’s Message
- Reliable Energy
- Responsive Service
General Manager’s Message
Dear Customer Owners:
2008 was a year we will remember for some time to come. High energy costs and the downturn of the economy and the market challenged all businesses in America and abroad. In the utility industry, in particular, we faced a perfect storm in the power supply market as various negative issues came together to drive up costs. Fuel prices alone spiked 200% in a matter of months.
Despite the volatility last year, TMLP remained a sustainable, financially-healthy public power utility. The foundation on which the TMLP was built, namely our customers, remained steadfast and loyal during the turbulence. Although our power cost charges had to be adjusted several times during the course of the year, TMLP and its customers weathered the onslaught and managed to retain competitive rates. Diversity in our power supply portfolio helped to limit increases, and we were able to help many customers use their power more efficiently through conservation measures.
...the utility industry, in particular, we faced a perfect storm in the power supply market as various negative issues came together to drive up costs. Fuel prices alone spiked 200% in a matter of months.
The increased costs didn’t begin and end with the fuel…it continued with the capacity market costs, the reliability out-of-merit charges of the Mirant Canal Plant, excessive costs of the hydro-power from New York, and increased transmission service fees from the Independent System Operator. Higher prices on basic necessities like food, home heating oil and gasoline, forced many families to make tough decisions on which bills to pay and which rooms to heat in their homes. And then in September 2008, the market crashed … hard. Yet, through it all, we responded and our customers remained loyal.
Our customer satisfaction survey was conducted in October 2008, and the feedback was that our customers are loyal and continue to provide strong overall ratings (92% favorable) despite the tough economic times. During 2008, TMLP focused on its exceptional reliability (99.9% reliable) by investing $6.2 million in its infrastructure, without incurring debt. Our customers recognized our efforts in the survey by rating our reliable service with high marks.
Environmentally speaking, TMLP is among the leaders in the industry with respect to environmental stewardship. For decades, a healthy portion of our energy supply has been earmarked “green” and we take pride in sharing with our customer-owners that we are well ahead of the government’s requirements looking five years out. On the topic of looking forward, the TMLP management has embarked on an extensive strategic planning review for 2009; financial health, business goals and customers’ needs and expectations will be at the forefront of every decision we make in the coming years.
We strive to minimize our price volatility with our power supply and improve our quality of service and efficiency. We went out to bid for up to 30% of our system load with renewable energy and look forward to developing power supply contracts with those who provide value. TMLP continued to develop a combined-cycle generation plant, along with other public power entities, to provide an efficient power supply for the future. TMLP also continued with system improvements and upgrades to enhance our efficiencies and reliability.
We thank you, our customers, for your continued loyalty and support; we look forward to sharing our successes with you in the coming years.
Michael J. Horrigan
Message from the TMLP Board of Commissioners
2008 proved a challenging year from an operational standpoint. Tough decisions were made with respect to operating costs and expenses and the need to pass along the increases to our loyal customers. From an operational standpoint, the Board worked closely with the management team to fund only the highest priority projects that were inherent to the continuity and sustainability of the TMLP. We are in the fortunate position to work with a utility and management team who have focused, over the decades, to put its customers’ interests first; that has made our job, as a Board, much easier.
Without question, the concept of the municipal cooperative to build a new Unit 10 has occupied the front burner for a better part of 2008. Again, because the customers are at the forefront of this decision, every angle, every aspect of this new unit has been geared toward making the product more efficient, less costly, environmentally-sensitive and available when customers flick the switch. During the upcoming year, we will work closely with our local government officials and communities to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to participate in the outcome of the new Unit 10; the strategy of inclusion will make the final outcome that much more successful.
From an operational standpoint, the Board worked closely with the management team to fund only the highest priority projects that were inherent to the continuity and sustainability of the TMLP.
Peter H. Corr, Chairman
Tremendous credit goes to the relatively new General Manager, Mike Horrigan, and his management team. Mike has proved to be a respected leader committed to serving the community; our business is stronger and well positioned to handle the challenges and opportunities that await us in the coming years as a result of his experience. Under Mike’s tenure, the payment-in-lieu-of-tax payment was increased to $2.9 million (an increase of $75,000) to assist with the financial burdens placed on the city as a result of the economic recession. TMLP continued to support the towns with the lighting of ball fields, assisting the local school systems and local government with the computer and phone support, the mentoring of high school students and the participation and support in a myriad of community not-for-profit agencies, Chamber of Commerce and other economic development organizations.We thank you for your continued support and loyalty and look forward to enjoying a more robust and financially-secure economy during the coming year.
Peter H. Corr, Chairman
Investing in a reliable distribution and transmission infrastructure.
The Transmission and Distribution system delivers electricity when it’s needed, no matter where one resides in the TMLP service area. Continual upgrades to the electrical system make us one of the most reliable in the region; during 2008, TMLP had a reliability rating of 99.9%. TMLP’s desire to offer reliable service using the most current technology has the team exploring SmartHome technologies, metering opportunities and rates specific to support a SmartHome/business.
Continual upgrades to the electrical system make us one of the most reliable in the region; during 2008, TMLP had a reliability rating of 99.9%.
During this past year, TMLP implemented a Net-metering rate for those customers who opted to install distributed generation and our Energy Supply and Planning team expect to offer a time-of-use rate during 2009. We have a dedicated Key Accounts Coordinator who works with businesses to make sure their needs and requirements for service are met.
High Marks for TMLP Customer Satisfaction Survey.
When asked in a customer satisfaction survey, better than 97% of TMLP customers say the company is responsive to their needs and accessible when needed. When asked for more information about conservation tips and opportunities, TMLP delivered.
During 2008, TMLP worked with a number of community leaders, such as the Mayor, Heart of Taunton, Neighborhood Corp, Taunton Redevelopment Authority, Taunton Area Chamber and the like, to address the needs of the community… needs that ranged the gamut from better lighting in the community to keep our streets safe to lighting the ball fields.
Efficiencies were also shared by our customers through the rebate programs offered: 234 customers took advantage of our Rebate program and 131 customers requested energy audits in their home or business.
We’ve helped empower our customers with respect to their energy usage; conservation measures and tips have helped to drop the overall electric demand. Efficiencies were also shared by our customers through the rebate programs offered: 234 customers took advantage of our Rebate program and 131 customers requested energy audits in their home or business.
A BOND RATING OF Aaa FROM MOODY’S
Given where the global economy has been during the last 12 months, TMLP’s financials are solid; we have weathered down times remarkably well.
TMLP currently has a bond rating
of Aaa from Moody’s
TMLP’s lack of debt enables the company to take advantage of low bond rates and leverage market opportunities for capital expenditures. The utility invested $6.2 million in infrastructure, while remaining debt free; TMLP currently has a bond rating of Aaa from Moody’s.
Getting fair rates through legislation
Given TMLP’s reputation for “delivering as promised,” the company has made strides in the legislature requiring RTOs (Regional Transmission Organizations); a number of municipal electric companies in southeastern Massachusetts want ISO-NE (the Independent System Operator of New England) to make decisions with cost in mind. TMLP worked with a group of local utilities to initiate the Fair Rates Campaign, encouraging our legislators to submit a bill to congress to make the regional transmission operators, such as ISO-NE, more accountable to consumers. TMLP also assisted with the ice storms, through the Mutual Aid response, in northern New England
Use of technology
Use of technology, such as with our SCADA system, provides us with real-time information on the system allowing for fast dispatch and control, and our SAP systems makes us nimble and better able to maximize the efficiency of our workforce. Use of the fiber ring allows TMLP to provide upgrades to different areas of the system; we are maximizing our workforce skills and reducing our need for outside contractors when appropriate.
From a risk standpoint, TMLP is working with 13 other electric entities to form a cooperative structure to share the expenses (and risks) of building a more efficient Unit 10 at the Cleary-Flood Generating Station. In addition to the folks who would like ownership in the Cooperative, an additional nine electric entities will look to procure power contract entitlements for the life of the plant. During 2008, TMLP and the interested parties developed six contracts (the Coop Agreement, a unit power contract, lease agreement, development agreement, construction agreement and an operations agreement) which are under final review at the publication of this report.
Comparatively speaking, TMLP is still
the best game in town
Comparatively, TMLP is still the best game in town; rates are lower than other MA utility companies and our services far exceed those offered by the competition.
Investing in renewables
Long before everyone and everything was cast in a green fatigue, TMLP had contracts for renewables in place—in fact, IOUs are required to have 4% of their portfolio stem from renewable energy contracts by 2010, whereas 40% of TMLP’s energy comes from carbon-friendly sources. For decades we’ve encouraged and helped businesses change out lighting with T1 bulbs, we’ve conducted thousands of energy audits, and we’ve made compact fluorescent bulbs available (and easily disposed) through our SmartLights Program.
Rebates are available on refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, programmable thermostats, room air conditioning units and dehumidifiers. We are also actively pursuing the building of a newer, cleaner, more-efficient Unit 10 and are addressing environmental concerns with the shoreline along Cleary-Flood through a stabilization project.
Solid Planning and Services
Planning, training, growth all focus on the future and rates, reliability, products and services will all be customer-centric moving forward. We’ve worked on a number of plans, not the least of which was the Emergency Operating Plan, which integrated the Incident Command System. Formally capturing legacies and intellectual knowledge before employees retire has been an objective at the TMLP; keeping a trained and informed workforce will keep the company nimble.
As we plan for the next five years and beyond, we will continue to solicit and include feedback from our customer owners in our strategic plans. TMLP will also explore every opportunity available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Serving the public good
Even when you think you’re doing a good job, you can’t rest on your laurels, as evidenced by the recent recession and the craziness in the marketplace. The goal at TMLP will always be to look for better, smarter, more efficient ways to run the business. Technological and environmental advances will keep our industry competitive in the coming years.
Our power portfolio strategy is to reduce price volatility exposure through the use of more efficient dispatchable generation and the addition of renewable resources. This power resource portfolio will be integrated with “demand-side management” programs including demand response and energy efficiency programs for the consumer.