Prospect taking steps to save energy and money

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PROSPECT — Prospect just got a little greener.

The town has changed its electricity plan, which is just one of many steps Mayor Robert Chatfield said he has taken to make Prospect a greener, more energy efficient town, and pass the savings along to the residents.

Starting in 2006, the town was running the streetlights, Town Hall, fire house, library, and public works under its contract with Integrys Energy Services. The rest of the town-owned buildings were powered by Connecticut Light and Power. CL&P

When the town sent its electricity out to bid earlier this year, Integrys came back the lowest bidder. For 48 months of service, the town received a fixed rate of 6.81 cents per kilowatt hour.

After the .133 cents per kilowatt hour cost of the participation fee, billed separately by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, the total effective cost would be 6.94 cents per kilowatt hour, stated a letter from Bay State Consultants, who coordinated the bids, to Chatfield.

The other bidder, CL&P, offered a rate of 8.55 cents per kilowatt hour.

Integrys’ bid was for over 20 electric meters, which includes everything previously covered by the company, plus other town owned buildings, parks, and three stoplights at the junctions of Schoolhouse Road and Route 68, Summit Road and Route 69, and Scott Road and Route 69.

Previously, the town was paying CL&P for these meters.

Chatfield explained that once the town had all the information, they only had a three-hour window in which to make the decision. A subcommittee of himself, Town Council Chair Tom Galvin, and Town Council member Patricia Geary came to the decision to accept the bid from Integrys.

This wasn’t the first time the town has sought to save money through electricity changes.

The town received an energy grant three years ago and replaced the light fixtures, bulbs and ballasts in the town hall, firehouse, library and garage with energy efficient lighting. The town installed motion sensor lights in both the firehouse and the town garage, which helped save electricity by turning themselves off when no one was around.

There were more than 30 lights replaced in the firehouse alone, and, because of this, Prospect’s Volunteer Fire Department won the Connecticut Summer Saver Bronze Award.

According to a Department of Energy and Environmental Protection press release, the bronze award is given in recognition of a 5 percent to 10 percent reduction in electricity consumption as well as demand.

The department reduced its electricity consumption by over 5,000 kilowatt hours, which was an 8 percent reduction, and produced 1.7 tons less of carbon dioxide.

Chatfield said when he found out about the award, he sent a letter to the firefighters, thanking them for setting a good example for the town employees to aspire to.

Chatfield explained the town is moving towards going green and saving energy wherever it can.

Later this year the lights will be changed at Hotchkiss Field from current spotlights to energy efficient spotlights.

This isn’t just about saving energy, though.

“In the long run, we’re saving tax dollars,” Chatfield said.

The town is taking part in Connecticut’s State Electronics Challenge. This challenge is sponsored by the DEEP and encourages state, regional, and local governments to purchase greener computer products, reduce the impact of computers during use, and manage obsolete computers in an environmentally safe way.

“Though we are one of the smaller municipalities in our area, Prospect is going to begin setting a precedent for other area towns to practice greener recycling, energy conservation, and smarter ‘green’ purchasing of electronics,” Chatfield wrote in a letter to town employees.

“The purpose of joining the challenge is to help reduce the footprint that our municipality as well as other municipalities is leaving on the environment,” Chatfield wrote.

Chatfield explained helping the town achieve its greener goal doesn’t just lie with employees, but with the residents who use the town buildings as well.

“If you are using a town building for any meeting, whether it is scouts, football, or any other civic organization, every light you shut off is tax dollars saved,” Chatfield said.