The Hull Municipal Light Plant is paying $850,000 from its emergency reserve fund to rent and operate the five diesel fuel-powered temporary generators that were installed in late 2020 to ensure residents stay warm this winter during any National Grid power outages.
At its Feb. 18 meeting, the light board will discuss how the light plant could manage the cost of renting/purchasing future temporary and possibly permanent generators, Light Board Chairman Patrick Cannon told The Hull Times.
That issue was not discussed at any length at the board’s Jan. 21 meeting as was originally anticipated, according to Cannon, who said the cost of leasing the generators this year will likely be absorbed by the light plant.
“We’re not looking to go backward to be repaid for this $850,000 [expenditure] but rather looking at the need to find a way to fund temporary/permanent [electricity] generation in the future. We will have more information by our next meeting,” he said.
While the option of the town purchasing, rather than leasing, generators for use during upcoming winters is under consideration, time is needed to make that decision. “We’re researching the possibility now of the town installing and owning its own generators,” Cannon said.
The temporary generators, which are in trailers located near the traffic lights on George Washington Boulevard, will provide emergency power as needed through March 31.
While it takes about an hour to get the generators up and running, the actual time frame during which they would kick in would be between 1½ to two hours once it was determined whether the problem occurred outside Hull.
National Grid-related power losses are often of long duration and are more difficult to resolve than outages for which the light plant is responsible because many of the feeder lines are located in Hingham in a wooded area that can be difficult to access, especially at nighttime, according to town officials.
“I’m glad we have the temporary generators because they are a good insurance policy for this winter,” Cannon said.