With my term coming to a close, I want to publicly thank the Reading Board of Selectmen for appointing me to serve on the RMLD Board of Commissioners for the past year.
Late last year, I was offered an opportunity to join the Board of Directors of Family Aid Boston, an organization dedicated to providing shelter to homeless families. I also became a member of The New England/Canada Business Counsel, serving on their Energy Committee. My new commitments to FAB and NECBC and my obligations as a board member of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education along with the growth of my public affairs consulting practice prevent me from dedicating the time and energy to RMLD that I feel it deserves.
In my year on the RMLD Board, a new General Manager has been hired, and much needed studies of the cost of service and RMLD’s organizational structure have been launched. These studies, combined with sufficient public input, should lead to a meaningful strategic plan that will outline how RMLD will manage the significant challenges it is facing for the foreseeable future.
While there may be more people using more electrical devices, efficiency and conservation has reduced the overall demand for electricity. Efforts to protect the environment will continue to reduce the amount of electricity RMLD sells in the future.
At the same time the development of new sources of natural gas and renewable energy resources will keep the overall price of energy low, so the revenue available to RMLD will continue to be depressed.
Hot energy industry topics like Demand Response and Distributed Generation will likely get more attention at RMLD in the days to come. They holds some promise, but are complex and can be costly.
It's important to keep in mind RMLD is only a distribution company: it does not make its own electricity, it resells energy purchased from others. It has no source of revenue other than its customers and expenses can only be covered by raising rates or increasing the volume of electricity sold.
Consequently, RMLD must ensure it runs the leanest possible organization while reliably keeping the lights on and maintaining the safety of its staff and customers.
In my short time at RMLD, I tried to be an aggressive advocate for the customer by encouraging greater public transparency and accountability for the management and operation of the organization. I have encouraged an update of policies to align the roles of the General Manager and Commissioners with Massachusetts’ laws and best practices for a publically owned institution.
It was a honor to serve with my fellow Commissioners and to work with the management team at RMLD. If you will forgive oh-so-obvious pun, I think RMLD has the potential for an even brighter future.