lighting commission candidates say they are ready to take up the challenge | Local News
PEABODY – The ‘state-of-the-art’ fossil-fueled power station slated to be built near the Waters River is arguably the most controversial topic debated by locals running for two open seats on the Powerhouse Lighting Commission. Peabody City Lighting, but contenders for the upcoming election have said they want to tackle a variety of issues.
According to City Clerk Allyson Danforth, Tracy Valletti, Joel Brenner, MaryBeth Mallia and Raymond Melvin have already been certified at Town Hall and will appear on the Sept. 14 preliminary ballot alongside incumbents Thomas Paras and Robert Wheatley.
The general election will take place on November 2.
Melvin – who has twice run for a commission seat – said he wanted to bring his many years of energy experience to the commission.
“I’ve been doing this for 40 years, so I know what I’m talking about,” said Melvin, a longtime Eversource employee.
According to Melvin, he’s very “tech-driven” and could help the board identify renewable energy projects to invest in. He said he would also like to consider creating a city-owned wifi system.
“We own the poles, the wires, the substation – Peabody and the taxpayers – we own them,” Melvin said. “When you have the poles and the wires, you can do whatever you want with them. Currently, Comcast is renting from us.
He added, “We have low taxes, low electricity bills, low water bills. The only bill that was expensive was the Comcast bill, but if you have your own infrastructure, why not have low Wi-Fi costs too? “
Brenner said he had been considering running for a commission seat for the past few years.
“I’ve been attending light plant meetings for the past two years. I might be the only resident of Peabody who attends these meetings with some regularity, and it’s really fun, ”he said of how he first became interested in the plant. bright. “I started going because I was interested as a taxpayer and how we get electricity, and I just like to get involved. I would go see how the commissioners interacted, what they would vote on in meetings, and try to understand what Peabody is doing and what the future looks like.
Brenner, a former General Electric employee, said he was also excited about the potential opportunity to contribute his experience in the utility industry to the board.
“At the end of the day, I think people look to the light station to provide safe and reliable power and when I flip the switch my lights come on and I have a good rate,” he said. Brenner said, adding that he was feeling his experience. and his passion for the town of Peabody would make him a good candidate for the job.
If elected, Brenner has said he would love to be involved in conversations about how to prepare Peabody for a future where there is increased demand for electricity and an increased need for that electricity to be produced in a sustainable manner. .
“I hope that one day in the not-so-distant future I will drive an electric vehicle, and many of us will,” he said. “But we have to have the infrastructure to support it, so what are we doing as a committee to be in front of all of this? I look at this and say “I want to be a part of this conversation and help move the city forward in the right direction.”
Mallia, a former Ward Two city councilor, said she is running because she cares deeply about the city and enjoys being a civil servant.
“I just want to be the voice of the people and see better communication and community involvement,” Mallia said of why she is showing up. She added that she would like to see a woman on the board.
Valletti, a medical professional and former library administrator, said that while she was inspired to introduce herself after learning about the advanced plant controversy, she is open to hearing more about the other complex issues facing her. the council is tackling and is excited about the potential opportunity to advocate for renewable energy resources.
“I’m not saying the board didn’t do a great job,” she said. “I want low rates like everyone else, but I think there are new ways of doing things, and I think bringing new people on board will serve that purpose.”
Wheatley, who has served on the board since 1997, said he knows the energy industry is changing.
“I have a great interest in the light factory, and I see the future coming with electric cars and batteries and solar,” he said, adding that as a former mechanic he is particularly interested in the growing number of electric cars on the road. .
Wheatley also said he believes his many years of experience on the commission has allowed him to develop an expertise that he would like to continue bringing to the board.
“I still enjoy the job and take care of the phone calls when they arrive,” he said, explaining that he enjoys working with taxpayers. “I will be [ratepayers] voice on the commission, which I have always been, and I will uphold this philosophy of being the voice of the taxpayers of the Town of Peabody. I hope they are happy with the time I spent on the commission. “