Cape Light Compact provides answers


To the Editor:

We are writing in response to the letter by Jim Oakes published Dec. 11, titled “More excellent reporting, please.”

The Cape Light Compact agrees with the writer that it is important for people to understand what is happening in the energy arena. The issues are complex, and trying to address them either in a single news article, or a single letter to the editor, just isn’t practical. For just that reason, the Compact has been giving presentations explaining what’s behind the price increase, and, more important, giving customers information on what they can do about it.  We’ll be giving another presentation on Jan. 12 at 1 pm at the West Tisbury Council on Aging in the Howes House. Information is also available at And if you have a group that might be interested in scheduling another discussion, please get in touch with us.

With that said, here’s an attempt at a brief response to some of the questions. First, the issue with natural gas prices is not one of national gas prices, which remain low. It’s a matter of the high prices we pay for it specifically in New England during the winter. When it’s cold, we’re burning gas both for electricity production and for heating, and we sometimes use gas about as fast as we’re capable of piping it in. This causes New England wholesale natural gas prices to skyrocket, in turn pushing up electricity prices. It’s an issue that affects all of New England, not just the Compact.

The Compact’s current rates are not making up for, or recovering from, last year. They’re driven exclusively by just how high the market for gas and electricity is this winter. Again, these high prices affect everyone in New England, including NSTAR. While our price is a little higher for the next 7 months, for 11 months in 2014, the Compact’s price was below NSTAR’s. The Compact seeks the best pricing and terms to protect consumers. The program offers a choice to each customer, but does not promote any type of energy supply over another. Consumers can receive Basic Service from a standard mix of generating plants in New England, or they can choose Cape Light Compact Green 50 percent or 100 percent, which is from renewable energy sources in New England and Massachusetts.

In terms of stewardship, the Compact takes its role very seriously through a total approach to energy. In addition to the power supply program, we operate an award-winning energy efficiency program with savings of more than $498 million, and an effective consumer advocacy program that has saved the Cape and Vineyard consumers millions of dollars.

We are your stewards, and welcome questions. The Compact’s operations are transparent.  You can go to the Compact’s website to view audited financial reports and meeting agendas, minutes, and other documents. Any customer should feel free to contact us for information about the volatile energy markets, or your own bill and opportunities to receive benefits from the energy efficiency program. And we hope to see you on Jan. 12.

Lindsay Henderson

Communications director

Cape Light Compact