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Roxbury wind farm’s offer of free electricity to town households starts soon

ROXBURY – Record Hill Wind’s commitment to provide free electricity to all town households is nearly under way, company representative Gordon Gamble told town officials Tuesday night.

Gamble said that last month the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved its proposal for Central Maine Power Co. to provide the wind company with the residential information and names of metered households.

He said they also provided a proviso to residents and sent them a letter advising them that should they not want their account information given to Record Hill Wind, they could opt out.

“If somebody did not want their name released to Record Hill Wind, they would submit a form and say, ‘I don’t want this,’” Gamble said.

Otherwise, it would be assumed that the people want the offer.

“It’s for the first 500 kilowatt hours per month of just the supply portion of (electricity) and that’s based on the standard offer (the supply rate) that’s out there,” he said.

“So whatever the standard offer is, we apply it to the first 500 kilowatt hours – the credits that we’re giving to people.

“So it will end up being once they end up working through the system, names and addresses of the people that want the benefit, and then we’ll take those and start our quarterly payments,” Gamble said. “This is something that we had promised earlier,” he said.

“It’s in the permit about our tangible benefits, so we’re happy that we can come through with this and that the PUC and CMP have agreed to let us do this,” Gamble said.

After the board meeting, Chairman John Sutton had more news about the wind farm as it pertains to the tax rate.

Selectmen and new Roxbury assessor Rob Stevens of Mexico are trying to work out the wind farm’s actual assessment. Until that’s completed, town officials are going with a preliminary estimate for the annual town meeting on Monday, March 5.

Sutton said Roxbury’s current tax rate is $16.86 per thousand dollars of valuation. But with the wind company now added to the tax rolls, he said that rate will drop to $7.62 per thousand dollars of valuation should town meeting voters OK everything in the warrant as written.

“That’s huge,” Sutton said. “That’s a direct benefit of the wind project.”