A central role in island life

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 7:30am

One of the key words from those who advocated purchasing two-thirds stock of the former Block Island Power Co. was “control.” The idea behind that word was to have local oversight of our power company because it was going to be sold to someone, so why not take ownership of it ourselves? 

The idea was sound, but now that abstract idea is going to be put to practical use. “Local control” will largely be defined by who will sit on the soon-to-be-elected Board of Utility Commissioners, because that entity will help determine how the utility is run. This is what the town opted in for when a scant majority voted to purchase the stock for $1.8 million last year.

Candidacy declaration forms have now been sent out. According to the newly established guidelines, the five-member Board will have at least three island residents. Residency is defined as someone who lives on the island at least nine months out of the year. 

What we hope to see, unlike the last Town Council election cycle when the positions of First and Second Warden candidates were unopposed, is a robust slate of candidates interested in helping to run the new utility district — an entity that plays a central role in island life.