“We’ve been trying to sell it since 2008,” Eilers said. Residents agreed to the sale at the 2010 Town Meeting, after the vote had failed twice before.
According to Eilers, the town was losing money “constantly bailing the electric company out.”
The sale of Readsboro Electric to CVPS includes about 14 miles of distribution line and associated equipment. Also included are 133 shares of Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) stock, and 9,651 shares of Vermont Transco stock. The total purchase price for the stock and the electric company was $360,000, but $82,000 was subtracted because of a previous note that was borrowed against the Transco stock.
It was also agreed that CVPS would reimburse the town for half of its reasonable legal fees and expenses related to the transaction. According to selectboard member Teddy Hopkins, CVPS’s fees were about $12,000, and Readsboro’s fees are expected to be about the same, so the 50% split has essentially already been accomplished.
The Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) approved the sale on July 8 with the stipulation that the six percent energy efficiency charge be refunded to customers. Originally, Readsboro Electric had planned to hire a manager with revenue from the six percent charge, but that never happened, said Eilers.
According to Teddy Hopkins, customers who paid the charge should receive their refund from the town within the next 45 days.
Ultimately, after any remaining outstanding bills are paid, the proceeds will go into the town’s general fund, said Hopkins. When the PSB is satisfied that all legalities are completed, it will issue an order revoking the electric company’s certificate of public good; at that time, Readsboro Electric will officially be nonexistent.