Fri, 10/16/2020 - 12:15pm

Another perspective
To the Editor:

There has been a considerable amount of misinformation parceled out regarding the nature of the Block Island Solar Initiative, Entech Engineering, and tangentially, the Block Island Power Company, (our power company). I need to set the record straight on this and several other issues since they directly affect Entech.

BISI was developed by Don McCluskey who through his donation to the Rhode Island Foundation set up BISI. BISI is administered by Tony Pappas. We are prohibited by McCluskey and Pappas from doing any work under this program. Therefore, any insinuation that we are part of this initiative is false. This program represents itself about being pro-environment. However, if that were true, they would be indifferent to who installed these projects as long as they were installed competently and at a reasonable price. The fact that this is not the case speaks volumes about the true intent of this program, which in my opinion, is to give money to one, and only one company under the guise of environmental stewardship. It is galling that years ago, I requested the West Side 20 Affordable Housing project to reorient the buildings to a more solar-friendly position and now find that we could not even be considered as an installer. Many of those projects would not have been possible if we had not done the legwork years ago.

Tangentially, we predicted the problems BISI would cause, and they have now come to fruition. Jeffery Wright, President of BIPCo has indicated that BISI has largely taken up all the net metering capacity available, and that net metering is an economic hardship on all ratepayers. He has developed a new tariff that the BIPCo Board appears to support that would require you to now sell all your solar production to BIPCo at a much lower rate and buy all your electrical needs from BIPCo. This is a typical way that utilities attempt to disincentivize homeowner solar energy investment. This BIPCo strategy is only for solar electric. No other attempt that you make to save on your electric bill is subject to this.

My experience in this area tells me that this is a very old approach to budgeting and planning for our future. For over a year, I have been trying to get BIPCo to plan better. Just like the processes at many levels of town government, I’ve been told to be patient and they will get to it. The reality is that BIPCo should have started off down the road of much more comprehensive planning for our energy future from the get-go. Many people from companies I work with have reviewed the BIPCo situation and see the need for such planning. Now, we have a rate case before the PUC that has none of this approach.

What can one do? At this point, I think you can contact your Board: Mary Jane Balser, Barbara McMullan, William Penn, Everett Shorey, and Elliot Taubman and ask if they are certain that this is the most comprehensive approach that actually benefits us, the owners, to most reasonable extent possible? Their email addresses are: First Initial of First Name, Last Name@blockislandutilitydistrict.com (“eshorey@ blockislandutilitydistrict.com, for example). One can also virtually attend the monthly meetings. You can be notified by email, with the agenda, at the Secretary of State’s Open Meetings Portal: https://opengov.sos.ri.gov/openmeetings.

From there, you can enter your email address and received notifications about any public meeting you are interested in.

Christopher Warfel, PE, NABCEP,
President, Entech Engineering, Inc.


Helping out
To the Editor:

A thank you to our Block Island community from The Mary D Fund.

Mom and I are honored through The Mary D. Fund to be a part of our community support for Bonny Ryan. The response has been so amazing, so generous, so heartwarming, so Block Island!

I meet once a week in a Covid-safe, socially-distanced way with Bonny and Gary so your donations can get right to work to help with Bonny’s medical and insurance expenses. I give them all your notes and cards and a copy of all your checks to show even though we are apart, we are all by their side at this challenging time. Reluctant at first, we all know Bonny and Gary are far more comfortable helping than being helped. Being on the receiving end is not their wheelhouse. Unfortunately the twists and turns of life can challenge even the most self reliant. Gary and Bonny have seen that we are as determined to help them as they have helped so many of us.

As EMTs, neighbors and friends the Ryan family has always answered the call for our Block Island community. Every week I have the privilege to thank them from all of us for allowing our grateful community near and far to show our love and appreciation for a job well done. God bless Bonny and Gary, the Ryan family, and all of you!

Marguerite and Mary D.


Walking toward success
To the Editor:

This September marked the second year in a row that we held a Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Block Island. These walks are held coast to coast and donations to sponsor walkers go to the Alzheimer’s Association for research to end this dreadful disease. Last year was Block Island s first such walk. Many from the mainland came out to walk and raise money. One person came from Colorado and three from Lowell, Massachusetts. About 100 walked. Because of Covid, this year walkers were encouraged to take a walk of their own, not in a large group.

The pandemic has brought uncertainty of all kinds and donations are down everywhere. As of this date, Block Island has raised $23,739 and contributions continue to come in. In spite of Covid, we and the Alzheimer’s Association in Providence are very pleased. The walk was a success.

You may still contribute to this year’s walk until Dec. 31. Simply write a check to the Alzheimer’s Association and send it to your choice of Team Captain — Jennifer Phillips, Sandra Kelly or Peter Greenman. Those checks will be forwarded to the Providence office and all contributions will be acknowledged.

For all who have given so far, many thanks. We have a number of people on the island with this dreadful disease and they are extremely grateful.

Peter Greenman
Center Road


Put it back
To the Editor:

Several items have been stolen off boats at the Fort Island docks. Specifically, fishing and spearfishing equipment. Video footage is being reviewed; however, if anyone has any information or knows of any “used gear” being sold, please contact me or the New Shoreham Police Department so we can try to get this back to the owners.

Thank you,
Christopher Willi
Block Island Fishworks
(401) 742-3992