Joining forces to take town 'green'

SALISBURY — A group of residents have taken it upon themselves to promote a Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) program called SmartPower.

The program encourages CL&P customers to get some of their electricity from alternative energy sources. Each electric bill has an insert that allows customers to sign up, but the town SmartPower committee feels the program needs a higher profile.

"For every 100 people we sign up, the town gets a free solar collector," said Barbara Maltby, a member of the committee. "We’d like to have 340 people by 2010."

It may seem counterintuitive that an electric company would promote alternative energy sources, but the program helps CL&P’s bottom line.

"Companies don’t do things out of the goodness of their hearts," Maltby said. "If more people sign up to get their power through alternative sources through CL&P, it means that CL&P may not have to build more power plants. That’s the reason they’re promoting it."

Power plants are expensive to build and CL&P is just as happy to find another way to meet their clients’ energy needs. The environmentalists, of course, don’t want to see more power plants built becaues of their polluting potential.

"This is really something people can do that has an immediate impact on conservation and global warming in terms of drawing less power from the power plants," Maltby said.

Maltby said the town committee has already signed up about 100 people. She asks those Salisbury residents who opt to participate in the program to call the committee so they can be added to the town’s total. Contact committee chairman Wendy Baily Hamilton at 860-435-6268 or committee member Rona Roberts at 860-435-2075.

"We’re personally trying to sign people up because most people don’t look at the inserts," Maltby said.

— Jennifer L. Kronholm

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