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2010: Looking toward the future

Looking to the futureThe age of advanced metering is upon us. After years of careful planning, watching the evolution of the technology, meeting with vendors and evaluating systems, BELD began an advanced metering project in 2010. The system will automatically read meters and provide more value-added features—including outage notification, voltage quality, tamper alarms, and remote disconnect ability.

In an effort to expand its renewable portfolio, BELD signed an agreement with Patriot Renewables in 2011 to purchase 19% of the output of a wind farm located in Woodstock, ME. Spruce Mountain Wind should provide enough power to meet the electrical requirements of approximately 1,800 homes in Braintree for years to come.

In 2013 BELD Broadband launched a variety of new services that customers had been waiting for—wireless home networking, computer security, and watchTVeverywhere. In addition, the department unveiled a new web portal. Customer|Connect lets customers view their usage to see how everyday habits affect hourly consumption and, ultimately, monthly electric bills. BELD also launched paperless billing this year, allowing customers to receive electronic bills via email instead of  paper bills mailed to their home. The 20+% of customers who have opted into this program so far are saving valuable resources and helping the town “go green.”

BELD’s biggest and most visible project in 2014 was the development and construction of a new solar array on the site of the capped landfill off Ivory Street. Comprised of approximately 4,140 solar panels, the solar array produces up to 1.26 megawatts of electricity when it’s running at maximum capacity. Over the course of a year it’s expected to produce 1,645,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which will fully power 200 homes.

In 2016 BELD employees began replacing all 4,100 street lights in town with highly efficient light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures. These LED units consume less than 50% of the energy of the old high-pressure sodium lights and customers really appreciate the light they disperse. A new electric vehicle (EV) incentive program was launched this year as well, encouraging residents to lease or purchase zero-emission vehicles. Braintree Drives Electric promotes the benefits of driving an EV, such as enjoying an affordable alternative to gasoline and diesel-powered engines and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. BELD leases three EVs and installed two public charging stations on site. The department also kicked off  a community solar program this year. Braintree residents can take advantage of the 600-kilowatt, 2,100-panel array on the roof of Braintree High School instead of installing their own solar panels. The program also gives them the ability to lock in the price of this green energy for 15 years.

We sent several field worker crews to St. Thomas helping island residents recover from the destruction the hurricanes Maria and Irma left behind. The local island crew leaders were very impressed with our linemen’s efforts—we accomplished a lot of critical restoration work under difficult conditions.

The department sent several crews to St. Thomas to help island residents recover from the destruction hurricanes Maria and Irma left behind. The local island crew leaders were impressed with our linemen’s efforts—we accomplished a lot of critical restoration work under difficult conditions. Back home, employees at Potter Station completed a major overhaul of the steam turbine and boiler, field crews replaced about 125 neglected poles previously joint-owned with Verizon and the engineering department started a major distribution transformer replacement at the South Shore Plaza. BELD Broadband staff boosted download and upload speeds for Internet customers, which help support the advanced over-the-top streaming video services that were launched in 2018.

History of BELD      1890s      1900s      1950s      1970s      1990s      2000s      2010s      Thomas Watson