Cape Light Compact reaches out to Oak Bluffs residents

Maggie Downey, administrator for the Cape Light Compact, attended the Oak Bluffs selectmen’s meeting Tuesday evening with a clear message for the people of Oak Bluffs: Use us – we’re good for your wallet and good for the planet.

The Cape Light Compact (CLC) is a consumer advocacy group, formed in 1997, that negotiates electricity rates and implements a wide range energy efficiency programs for 200,000 customers on the Cape and Islands, free of charge. Anyone in Barnstable county and Dukes county who gets an electric bill is eligible for their programs.

The CLC energy efficiency plan was introduced in 2002. There are programs for residential, low income and commercial/industrial customers. They serve all customers regardless of fuel type. “Energy efficiency programs are paid by all of us,” said Ms. Downey. “We pay a charge every month on our electric bills. This [energy efficiency program] is your chance to get some return on your investment.”

Ms. Downey urged all Island residents to call CLC for a free energy audit. In addition to getting energy saving evaluation by a qualified professional, the audit will make consumers eligible for up to $4000 in energy efficiency improvements, including insulation, weatherization and rebates on major appliances. The $4000 amount for CLC customers is almost double the $2500 available to consumers in the rest of the state. Ms. Downey also stressed that these benefits are not just for property owners. Responding to consumer demand, the CLC recently made renters eligible for up to 100% of the $4000 worth of incentives.

Last year in Oak Bluffs, only 172 of 4800 potential customers participated in the CLC energy saving programs, They saved over $74,000 in annual energy costs. “We need to serve more customers in Oak Bluffs,” said Ms. Downey

To that end, there will be a public information session on December 12, at 6 pm, at the Oak Bluffs library, so residents can to find out more about how CLC can help them stretch their energy dollar. People will be able to sign up for energy audits, and find out more about the numerous programs and subsidies available through CLC, like the including the heat loan program, which provides loans at zero percent interest for energy efficient home improvements, up to $25,000. “These are your funds. This meeting is your opportunity, whether for your residence or your business, to find out how funds can be used for you.” said Ms. Downey.

Island residents can also call 800-797-6699 to schedule an energy audit. More information about all CLC programs is available at capelightcompact.org

In other business, chairman of the selectmen Walter Vail announced that Police Chief Erik Blake has been elected president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police for 2014. He will be sworn in December 12, at a ceremony in Falmouth. “In addition to being a big honor for Chief Blake, I consider that to be a huge honor for our community,” said Town Administrator Robert Whritenour.

Acting Fire Chief John Rose was on hand to get approval of his letter of disclosure for a non-elected municipal employee chief, which will be made available to the state ethics committee to address allegations of nepotism. The letter was presented to the selectmen on October 29, but action was deferred so the letter could be thoroughly examined.

“It happens in all small towns, not just Island small towns,” said Mr. Whritenour. “You also have certain families that are attracted to public service. The best step is always to make a broad and transparent a disclosure as possible. This state has strongest ethics laws in the nation, which is really a very good thing.”

Selectman Gail Barmakian suggested Mr. Rose designate an intermediary in case an issue arises with a relative in the department. “It might be easier on you as well as them if you can separate from that process,” she advised.

“In cases of discipline, you want to make sure if one employee is subject to action for particular action, that every employee is subject to the same,” added Mr. Whritenour. Selectmen unanimously approved Mr. Rose’s letter.

In holiday business, the annual tree lighting celebration will be held in Healy Square on December 4, at 6:30. A party with hot chocolate, cookies and free antlers will be held at Dreamland afterwards. Everyone attending is asked to bring a canned good for the food pantry.