RE “STATE should remove obstacles for towns to provide electricity’’ (Editorial, March 9): The town of Sterling is one of those served by a municipal light company, or muni. I was without power for 11 1/2 days after the December 2008 ice storm — not that different from the 13-day outage you cited for many Unitil customers. The Sterling Municipal Light Department announced in December 2009 that it expected to finish soon with the repairs from December 2008. Are investor-owned utilities still cleaning up from 2008?
As for lower rates, my January electric bill was $74.77 for 495 kilowatt hours. Based on online rate schedules, a 500 kWh bill from National Grid would be $45.65, and a Unitil bill would be $55.82.
We in Sterling hardly provide our muni with modernized equipment. It operates out of an 1883 school house and uses a former gas station for equipment storage. Our light department manager has to beg at annual town meetings for funds to bandage past problems, never mind planning how to prevent them.
The only point made in the editorial with which I fully agree is the one about munis offering “solid service.’’ The Municipal Light Department’s manager and staff do an exemplary job, in spite of the impediments we as town taxpayers force upon them.
Correction: This letter included incorrect electricity rates. In January 2010, 495 kilowatt-hours of electricity cost $64.25 from the Sterling municipal utility, $72.06 from National Grid, and $99.79 from Unitil, based on rate information from the Sterling utility and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.