CASE STUDY: Winchendon Housing Authority
Managing a housing authority with the key mission of making sure senior citizens and others have a safe, pleasant and affordable place to live is the paramount concern for the Winchendon Housing Authority. “It’s part of the commitment we make to our seniors and to those who need some help with their housing,” said Winchendon Housing Authority Executive Director David Connor.
Now, imagine responsibility for that mission while navigating the changing landscape of the competitive energy market, trying to make sense of when to buy and what is a good price. Add into that mix the reality that energy is one of the top budget pressures on the housing authority. A poor decision could turn potential savings into added costs.
It was 2007 and Connor had to learn fast what competitive energy purchases meant for his budget—where every dollar spent on energy was a dollar not spent on housing improvements or maintenance. To learn more, he attended a conference and there, he met the team from PowerOptions.
As it turned out, saving budget money on electricity was just the start of the Winchendon Housing Authority’s collaboration with Power Options.
“Initially, we were looking to save money, but it turned out to be much more than that,” Connor says. “We immediately met with the PowerOptions team and had several one-on-one meetings where they explained everything clearly and we started saving money on our electricity budget right away,” Connor added.
“The service and the attention given to us to help explain the options we had and the help in clarifying any questions we had back then was another benefit of working with PowerOptions,” Connor says.
From that initial action taken in 2007, to a recent decision to renew its electricity supply contract through 2022, the housing authority is now set to save another 10 percent on its energy costs. And, that’s before extra savings are factored in from a new solar project.
Winchendon Housing Authority participated in PowerOptions Solar Program to develop a 650kW solar field that offsets nearly 50% of the authority’s electricity usage. Savings to the housing authority are estimated at more than $1 million over 20 years.
Participating in the solar program has put the Winchendon Housing Authority on the road to “clean and green” energy, says Connor. “We are now doing what we can to reduce our own carbon footprint and our residents are excited to hear about it.”
“As a nonprofit ourselves, PowerOptions has always invested in our programs and services for members. Our solar program has proven successful, bringing significant savings, and it is another way we are investing directly into our members’ missions and energy futures.”
Cynthia A. Arcate, President & CEO, PowerOptions