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Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Gas & Electric (HG&E) has been recognized among a handful of utilities nationwide by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) for its leadership in transforming to a carbon-free energy system, and is on the 2021 Utility Transformation Leaderboard.

This is a significant recognition, and only 10 utilities, including Southern California Edison, Green Mountain Power, and Consolidated Edison of New York, were cited for their leadership in carbon reduction.

According to SEPA, the transformation requires much more than clean-energy generation. The national organization launched the inaugural Utility Transformation Challenge to make a comprehensive, honest assessment of U.S. electric utilities’ progress toward a modern, carbon-free energy system.

SEPA conducted and analyzed multiple surveys designed to measure meaningful progress across multiple dimensions of utility infrastructure, programs, strategy, and operations. Survey responses were received from 135 individual utilities, representing more than 83 million customer accounts, or approximately 63% of all U.S. electric customer accounts. The report examines the utility industry’s transition to a clean and modern energy system by exploring four dimensions of utility transformation: clean energy resources, corporate leadership, modern grid enablement, and aligned actions and engagement.

“I am grateful for this prestigious recognition from the Smart Electric Power Alliance and appreciate the hard work of HG&E employees,” said James Lavelle, manager of Holyoke Gas & Electric. “As a public power utility, HG&E is committed to providing innovative and sustainable energy solutions to the community we serve through investments in a diverse power-supply portfolio, energy storage, efficiency and conservation programs, as well as development of emerging clean-energy technologies. The atate of Massachusetts has established a road map to net zero by 2050, and HG&E is well positioned to meeting this target, as well as the incremental targets set for 2030 and 2040.”

HG&E earned a number of recognitions for its commitment to advancing clean and renewable energy, including its designation as a Smart Energy Provider by the American Public Power Assoc., being awarded Energy Manager Today Project of the Year for the Mount Tom Solar & Energy Storage System; and being ranked third nationally in energy storage per capita by the Smart Electric Power Alliance.

The municipal utility has a large and growing renewable portfolio, with 94% of electricity coming from carbon-free resources in 2019.

“These leaders stand out due to their comprehensive efforts to transition to a carbon-free energy future and, most importantly, their results,” SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm said. “We applaud the leaders for their progress and recognize that much work remains. The world does not have the luxury of time on carbon reduction.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Gas & Electric (HG&E) is studying the feasibility of offering high-speed internet service to residential customers in Holyoke.

This potential new service, called Fiber to the Home (FTTH), uses fiber-optic cables to bring internet into residential dwellings. While HG&E is capable of providing residential FTTH service, there must be sufficient interest and demand for the service in order for the venture to be economically viable and not have an adverse impact on utility rates. Preliminary estimates indicate that a citywide fiber internet build-out could cost upwards of $30 million.

HG&E would not offer television services as part of the FTTH service. Customers would be required to either ‘cut the cord’ — terminate traditional cable television service and subscribe to streaming services — or keep their current TV provider.

“As we continue to study and research the feasibility of this project, we want to hear from HG&E customers,” said Kate Sullivan Craven, manager of Marketing and Communications at HG&E. “Customers can go to our website and fill out a survey detailing their interest in potentially subscribing to a local, residential fiber internet service. The survey will also be included as an insert with their upcoming bill.”

Customers should visit www.hged.com/ftth to learn more about this potential new service or express their interest.