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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Light Commissioners' Meeting November 17, 2015

86 Bridge Street, P.O. Box 20, Baldwinville, MA 01436-0020
TEL: 978-939-5323
FAX: 978-939-4309
John M. Driscoll,
General Manager

Light Commissioners' Meeting
November 17, 2015
Members present were: Dana Blais, Gregg Edwards, Chris Stewart
Employees present were: John Driscoll, Tom Berry, Nick Houston
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Dana.
The agenda was approved on a motion by Chris, seconded by Gregg, 3-0 in favor:
Old Business:
Brian Pierce, the Local 104 Business Representative, was in attendance to address the Manager
and the Board directly regarding their proposal of 9-30-2015 and our counter-proposal of 10-27-
Brian began the meeting by handing out copies of their initial proposal to the Board, the Manager
and the Superintendent
. Chris was visibly upset at this since Local 104 had 21 days already to
prepare a second proposal as a response to the TMLP's first counter-proposal but instead Local
104 appeared to be re-submitting their initial offer as if it was a new document
. Chris informed
Brian that Local 104 was wasting the Board's time. Brian stated that he had merely passed out
this document to begin a review session of what article items had already been agreed to and
thus need not be negotiated any further
. The Manager was confused by this since he had
already included a cover sheet with
6 responses to their 6 items on their initial proposal:
1.                3-Year Agreement Term
2.               5, 5, 5 Wage Increases for 2016, 2017, 2018
3.                $5.00 per Hour Wage Increase for Wind Tech work
4.                Job Re-Classifications for 5 of the 8 in union group
5.                50 Sick Time Buy-Back Upon Retirement
6.                Increased Clothing Allowance due to New FR Regulations
Brian started off the discussion by informing the Board that the Manager had changed willto
shalla total of forty-three times in the document that he had presented to Local 104 as the
TMLP's counter-proposal
. The Board already knew this since they had been given a copy of the
counter-proposal by the Manager on October 27,2015.
The discussion continued back and forth with a virtual play-by-play of all of the redlined items
that the TMLP had proposed to Local 104. Brian insisted that some items that were previously
included had been left out of this counter-proposal document, namely the standby vehicle Article
One of the 40 Municipal Electric Utilities of Massachusetts ... I oca 119 h t
This institution is an equal opporlunity provider and employer

19 language and the future vehicle air conditioning Article 15 language. The Manager stated that
this must have been an oversight on his part, as neither the Board nor he had any desire to re-
negotiate the standby vehicle
or the vehicle air conditioning. The Manager stated that he would
present local 104 with an updated vers
ion of a draft agreement with those items included once
At one point Brian had asked for clarification on the TMlP's proposal to take back 2 personal days
and 4 Sick days and
re-classify sick time as non-accumulating. Brian stated that this was going
from 13 paid time off days to 7/ another affi
rmation required by the Manager in order to move
on. Brian also asked for clarification on the short-term disability plan being offered by the TMLP
as to how many paid time off days the carrier would require in advance of releasing
compensation benefits. The Manager stated that this was a run-of-the-mill policy, with coverage
for injury on Day 1 and for illness on Day 8; hence the five non-accumulating sick days.
Most of the rest of this meeting in Open Session consisted of the Manger and/or the Board's
affirmation of any and all article language that the Manager had redlined previousiv, whether
was a wholly new concept or an effort toward consistency (like changing all 43 words to either
will or shall and actually referring to the TMlP as The Employer).
Brian stated that local 104 had no intention of releasing Brigid Lambert as a member to another
union as he thought that she "did a lot for the light department" (his words) and said they
planned to negotiate just as they had in past years. The Manage
r offered no response to this at
this time/ but was visibly disappointed.
This portion of the Open Session was concluded with Brian stating that he and Nick were to have
a conversation with Brigid on her job duties and responsibil
ities and that Local 104 would be
providing the TMlP with a job descr
iption for her (as of December 9, 2015 no such description
has been received by the TMLP).
One main point that clearly Local 104 and the TMLP were not in agreement with was over
existing job descr
iptions for the union members in Local 104. Both Brian and Nick stated that all
of them had been g
iven job descriptions to follow when they were hired and those were the ones
that Local 104 wished to have re
-done because of the wind turbine work, The Manager and the
Board were of the m
indset that because there were no formal job descriptions within the current
contract that had been accepted by vote by either the union or by management then in fact
there were no electr
ic job descriptions inside the light union at all. The Manager stated that he
(John) and the Superintendent (Tom) and the Business Manager (Kathy) are the only three light
employees with job descriptions,
The Manager did expand on this point to say that if local 104 were to pursue this idea of job re-
classifications for 5 of the 8 in the union group then there would in fact be job descriptions for
everyone, not just the ones working on the wind turbine. He stated that this had the potential to
be a long drawn-out process, whereas both Lo
cal 104 and the TMlP would have to mutually
agree to said job descriptions, and since none formally existed
to date, their formation would be
a give-and-take process, not just a take.
Brian stated that he and Nick planned to go back to the entire group with our latest counter-
proposal, which happened to be stili our origina
l counter-proposal, The Board and the Manager
were not sure why this had not been done already through meetings with Local 104 and the
union group here. This part
icular Open Session meeting between the TMLP and Local 104 was
not a productive one to say the least and at its conclusion neither manageme
nt nor the union
were clear on where the negotiating status stood.


[The Board, Manager and Superintendent had all taken great offense to several indirect
accusations made by the light union group here thru
Local 104 that safety was not being taken
seriously here at the TMLP when it related to the wind turbine. Both the Manager and the
Superintendent had worked to promote a safe work env
ironment both inside and outside of the
wind turbine go
ing back to September 2010, its commercial operation date. Neither of them had
any recollection of ever saying NO to any additional equipment, tools or safety training necessary
for wind turbine work, yet there were allegations being made throughout tonight's conversation
with Local 104 that such an unsafe work environment had been pushed onto 5 of the 8 in this
light union group here
The greater shock experienced tonight, at least by the Manager and by the Superintendent, was
the deafening silence of Nick Houston the Shop Steward here throughout much if not all of
Brian's monologue on wind turbine safety
. At no point in the Open Session was Brian corrected
by Nick on any of these
indirect accusations against John and against Tom. It shall forthwith be
our opinion that the ENTIRE group feels this way and not just Nick, his being the representative
of the light union group in Local 104.
It shall further be a matter of public record that allegations of safety violations were made
against the TMLP by Local 104 in an open public meeting which has necessitated an
investigation by John and by Tom
. Both of us will be going through work orders and tailboard
discussion worksheets and having discussions about past morning meetings going back to
September 2010 in Tom's office with the Working Foreman
and the two Lead linemen in an
effort to come upon instances documented where the TMLP has said NO to workplace safety.]
New Business:
The Manager had prepared copies of a proposed light budget for 2016 as well as some
ions for light rate decreases in generation charges for 2016. There was no substantial
conversation about either topic since it made little sense to make these types of decisions tonight
hile in the midst of what was appearing to be a long union negotiation process. Basically the
light budget a
nd the light rate changes were to be tabled till further notice.
The Manager informed the Board that the scheduled re-fueling outage for Seabrook Power Plant
thru October 31 had been extended to November 14. The Manager was not concerned about the
cost of replacement powe
r since November ATC power for the WCMA Load Zone was averaging
2.S9¢ per KWH. It would not have a detrimental effect on November Power Supply Costs,
the Light Plant having an additional 2.4 MW open to the market for 14 extra days.
The Manager had received from APPA via e-mail a 2014 electric utility retail rate survey for the
entire cou
ntry, broken down by state. He had made copies of the Massachusetts page for the
Board to v
iew. Templeton had an average retail electric rate of 13.23¢ per KWH compared to
Northeast Uti
lities at 16.2S¢, National Grid at 16.63¢ and Unitil at 20.81¢ per KWH for 2014.
The October Sales Summary for KWH and Revenue was given to the Board for their review by
Manager. The figures for 2015 were 4,460,663 KWH and $558,449. The figures for 2014
4,427,790 KWH and $555,481. There appeared to be no appreciable difference in KWH
sold or revenue collected from October 2014 to October 2015

There were four (4) hand-outs that the Manager had prepared for the Board that did not
rticularly require any specific discussion:
September 2015 Power Supply
2015 Wind Generation
November 2015 Residential Electric Rate Comparisons
2.015 MMWEC Electric Rate Comparisons
At this time a roll call vote was taken as follows (8:15 p.m.):
':4 motion was made by Dana, seconded by Chris, 3"0 in favor for the Board to enter into
Executive Session to conduct strategy session
s in preparation for negotiations with union
. The Light Commission believed that if it were to conduct such strategy sessions in
Open Session it wou
ld have a detrimental effect on the Light Plant's collective bargaining
position. "

Dana -Aye


Chris -Aye

There being no other Open Session business to diSCUSS, on a motion by Gregg, seconded by
Chris, 3-0 in favor the Light Commissioners' Meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.
Respectfully Submitted,
John M. Driscoll
~wL. i,\...., )-~ v....-
General Manager


  1. So will today be the day our local brothers get the greed bags filled?
    Do we need to get a raise to pay the new rates that will come with this agreement if signed today?
    To say the commission get the job done is a strech in my "opinion" like everything written here is.
    When this was posted i think it was out of hast and anger by the general there. Did he F up when he put this rant out and piss off the rep Brian. Well as a union Steward if i was treated like Nick Houston was in the minutes posted it would take a contract over a year to settle also.
    Note the date then and if they are looking at a agreement today from what i hear that's a long negotiation process for the members to put up with. Is the problem management doesn't think they are worth it? Or is they think the greed is a problem on the bottom line of costs at TMLWp . They are strapped to being just a little under the others who sell power like National Grid. Will this agreement put our rates higher than the others are?
    Will we find issues with the extra help hired and new Building also a battery resiliency project.
    Fear not The manager and the board had a discussion about some pending surplus funds coming from Seabrook Nuke #6 in July 2016 + refund 100K and 500k in July 2017. This would mean either a check issued to the light plant or a free month of whole sale power.
    Both of these July 2016 and July 2017 nuclear projects credits were independent of ALL of the light plants Nuclear debt being paid off by june 2019,Which will substantially reduce the light plants capacity costs for both Millstone #3 Nuke and Seabrook Projects Nuke #4,5,6.
    So when you hear this news you want your share of our pie,right Nick?
    Our electric bill should be going down and when i read this i can just imagine the amounts they will be going up.
    Doing things right?

  2. The greater shock experienced tonight, at least by the Manager and by the Superintendent, was
    the deafening silence of Nick Houston the Shop Steward here throughout much if not all of
    Brian's monologue on wind turbine safety. At no point in the Open Session was Brian corrected
    by Nick on any of these indirect accusations against John and against Tom. It shall forthwith be
    our opinion that the ENTIRE group feels this way and not just Nick, his being the representative
    of the light union group in Local 104.

  3. On wind turbine safety. At no point in the Open Session was Brian corrected
    by Nick Houston, shop steward on any of these indirect accusations against John and against Tom.

  4. OWE BOY check out the new electric rates!!!

    Why now?

    Can't say i didn't tell you!!!

  5. I took my bill from national grid and divided the total bill by the kwh and come out with .34429 per kwh used last month

  6. mike a question for you is what is the "generation" charge from the grid?
    I would love to have a copy of the bill.
    My email is and i will do a comparison of the two.
    The 1/3 of a dollar per kwh used sounds like robbery.
    When the cost comparisons at the TMLWP meetings the grid was higher and not by much.
    Less than 10% and was the highest for all posted.
    The only higher was Princeton municipal light and it was due to the turbine failures and gearbox replacement.
    Needing to replace the power not generated has a large cost tied to it as we found out in 2015 when our wind turbine shit out for 3 months and we needed to purchase at a doubled rate.
    It caused a large reduction in the reserves we had at MMWEC and loss of revenue that made things a little less cost effective than we were told in the beginning.
    The Turbine is a giant gamble and the towns has found out the hard way it can cost in more than dollars.
    So how much debt does the light plant have?

    1. im bad it is .20593 per kwh

      i will get you that dave