Residents are invited to two presentations about a fixed-rate electricity agreement established by the town earlier this month that could save ratepayers money.
The agreement was made with Direct Energy, an electricity provider that serves more than 6 million residential and commercial customers in 46 states.
The two information sessions will be held at the Patriot’s Park Lodge on 172 Lake St. on Wednesday at 10 a.m. and Saturday, Oct. 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during Pumpkin Fest, an annual Halloween celebration in town. In 2009, the Direct Energy saved its customers approximately $5.9 million through its offers in United Illuminating and Connecticut Light & Power service territories.
Three other local towns, Windham, Hampton and Hebron, have reached the agreement with Direct Energy while Lebanon is considering the option.
Under the “Direct Choice” program, senior citizens who are 65 and older and own their residence will pay 8.99 cents per kilowatt hour from October 2010 through June 2011. This covers the November 2010 through July 2011 billing cycles.
Younger customers will pay a fixed rate of 9.29 cents per kilowatt hour during the same time frame. Senior citizens must prove their age to receive the discount.
Recently, Town Manager John Elsesser said there is no enrollment or early termination fees for the program and residents can back out at anytime. There also is no deadline for registration.
Elsesser said Direct Choice customers would save up to 18 percent on electrical costs, not including additional costs. Electricity comprises about 50 percent of each electric bill. The savings won’t affect taxes and distribution fees.
Public Works Director Tim Webb said the sessions were scheduled because many residents wanted more information about “Direct Choice.”
He said individuals wanted to make a “good, educated” decision.
Elsesser said the town has received positive feedback about the program, but word is spreading slowly.
He said one local business owner was happy the town made the agreement because there are “too many options” sometimes for electricity and other services.
After Wednesday’s session, which focuses on senior citizen discounts under the program, the town will have a better idea how many people are interested and what their concerns are, Elsesser said. He said people are often uncomfortable with change.
“In New England, change comes slow,” Elsesser said. ” Sticking with the status quo is a very comfortable thing.” Webb said individuals should look into the program because it could benefit them financially.
” There could be some good savings there,” Webb said.
Residents who are interested in the plan should bring a copy of the last month’s electric bill to the presentation to facilitate the switch to the Direct Choice plan.
To learn more about Direct Energy’s Direct Choice offer, residents can log on to www.directenergy. com or contact Direct Energy’s Customer Service Department toll free at (866) 803-4618, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents can also call the town manager’s office 742-6324 for information, as well.