Solar Supporters: Hearing On New Solar Metering Rules In Belmont Tonight

This is a note to all my readers that there’s an important meeting at the Town Hall auditorium this evening at 7:00 PM concerning Belmont Light’s policies for supporting residents who wish to switch to solar power.

Belmont residents who use solar power could find themselves paying the town for energy they generate and give back to the grid under new rules proposed by Belmont Municipal Light Department.

Belmont residents who use solar power could find themselves paying the town for energy they generate and give back to the grid under new rules proposed by Belmont Municipal Light Department.

You might not know, but Belmont Municipal Light is weighing a series of rules changes about how it reimburses residents who have solar panels on their homes. Long and short: the proposed “net metering” policies would change Belmont from a town that reimburses residents for extra power that they generate and give back to the grid to actually _charging_ residents for the power they consume and generate. That’s right: you can give electricity back to the grid for BMLD to use or sell, and pay for the privilege of doing it.

Here’s how Sustainable Belmont describes the proposed rule change, dubbed “Phase III”:

Phase III
MLAB is now proposing to enter Phase II only as an interim measure. Phase II would begin this fall as planned, but without the energy production caps in place. Phase III, which MLAB has termed “wholesale net metering”, would begin once new billing processes are developed. Under this phase, solar customers would pay retail rate for all their energy consumption, whether they generated it themselves or not. These customers would receive wholesale rates for all the energy they produce. Click here for a full description of the proposed Phase III.

At a hearing in the Belmont Town Hall Auditorium this evening, the Selectmen (who also act as the Town’s light board) will hear comments from the community on this policy.

Needless to say: changing our town from one that encourages solar adoption to one that, in essence, punishes residents from choosing solar is a step that is 180 degrees in the wrong direction. Residents should make an effort to turn out to Town Hall this evening at 7:00 and make their voices heard. Even if you don’t use solar – and have no intention of using solar – its important for Belmont to put itself on the right side of history and common sense here: crafting a policy that both supports residential adoption of renewables and supports the continuing operation of BMLD.

Sustainable Belmont has a nice write up of the issue on their website here. Read it and then head on down to Town Hall to show your support for solar in Belmont.

An Opportunity To Meet The New School Superintendent

Summer’s fast drawing to a close and thoughts are turning to the new school year. With that in mind, parents with kids in the public school should definitely take advantage of an opportunity to meet our new superintendent, John Phelan.

Superintendent John Phelan

Superintendent Phelan will be hosting a coffee to get introduced to residents and hear their concerns on Monday afternoon at 4:30.

Superintendent Phelan has been holding coffees with interested citizens all summer long – the most recent was this morning. There’s one more this month: on Monday afternoon, August 18 from 4:30 to 6:00 in the Superintendent’s Conference Room at the School Administration building.

Superintendent Phelan comes to Belmont after 25 years as a principal and teacher for over 25 years in the Boston and Milton Public Schools. Our new Superintendent organized the coffees as a forum to listen to parents, as well as community members. He’ll be using them to help get up to speed on the issues of concern to community members and also to formulate a plan for the district going forward.

If you can’t make Monday’s coffee, there are supposed to be more scheduled in September. Alternatively, you can make an appointment to meet with Superintendent Phelan individually. Please call Cathy Grant at 617-993-5401 to schedule an appointment.

I look forward to seeing you at the next Monday afternoon!

Tonight: Show Your Support For The Belmont Community Path!

This is just a note to all the folks out there who support the Belmont Community Path that there’s a very important meeting tonight (Monday, June 9) at 7:00 PM in the Board of Selectmen’s Room in Belmont Town Hall.

path-fork

 

The Community Path Advisory Committee (CPAC) will make its final presentation to the Board of Selectmen. The meeting starts at 7:00 and CPAC will make its presentation around 7:20 PM.

This will be the last chance to show your support for the Path before the Selectmen make their decision. We need your support!

Some background:

At the meeting, the Belmont Community Path Advisory Committee will review the various options for constructing a path extending from the existing trailhead of the Brighton Street to Alewife path through Belmont Center and Waverley and out to the Waltham border. The Committee was created by the BOS almost two years ago to study the feasibility of a path through Belmont. It will present its recommendations to the BOS. The Belmont Community Path will be a segment of the Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT). The Path would link up with the existing Fitchburg Cutoff Path, which terminates at Brighton Street and extend to the border with Waltham.

By connecting to the MCRT, the Belmont Community Path will provide links to many shared use paths and trail networks.

The report is the product of two years’ work and more than 39 public hearings and surveys. The Community Path will be a tremendous addition to Belmont – but it needs our support.

I’ll see you there! In the meantime, you can read CPAC’s final report or look at proposed routes for the path that the Committee considered during its two years of work here.