In order to establish a Municipal Lighting Plant (MLP) and join the WiredWest MLP Cooperative a town must take the following steps:

  1. Two Town Meeting Votes. The town must approve by a secret paper ballot with a 2/3 majority at two separate Town Meetings the creation of a municipal lighting plant. The meetings must be no less than 2 months and no more than 13 months apart. A second “no” vote after a first “yes” vote prohibits reconsideration for two years. (This is referred to as the acquisition of a plant and is described in MGL 164 Section 36.) WiredWest towns are using a standard warrant article. The status of towns who have formally joined as WiredWest Cooperative members are listed with their delegates here.
  2. Notify the DPU. Once the town has approved the creation of an MLP the town must notify the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. The clerk should send a letter with certified evidence of votes to the DPU using the attached example letter or similar. (MGL 164 Section 37)
  3. Provide certification and proof to WiredWest. The clerk should complete the attached certificate and collect certified copies of the warrant articles and meeting minutes.
  4. Create your department and its governance.
    1. By law, the MLP may be governed by either a group of elected individuals (a Light Plant Board) or the Select Board, itself. Because new WiredWest MLPs will primarily be acting as cooperative members and are unlikely to take significant actions independently, it may be most efficient for the Select Board to govern directly. However,
      • The AG and IG offices have stated that telecom MLP’s must be governed by a board to become exempt from the provisions of the 30B procurement laws (applies to goods and services, but not construction).
      • An MLP board is answerable to the ratepayers (subscribers) not to the taxpayers in town; so it creates a better separation-of-responsibilities. For this reason, WiredWest recommends that the MLP board be comprised of different people than the board of selectmen in the town. Here is a Warrant article for creating an MLP Board.
    2. Establish and name your department. Municipal lighting plant, light plant, light department and similar terms are used interchangeably. In addition, a town may create a name for its light plant such “Telecommunications Department” or “AnyTownTelCo”, which may be advantageous for communication purposes in annual reports and the like.  The Select Board should vote to establish and name the new department.
    3. Decide to join the WiredWest Cooperative and appoint a manager, delegate and alternate delegate. A manager is required by law to run the MLP. The delegate will serve on the cooperative’s board of directors. We suggest that these be the same person. The MLP’s governing body should explicitly agree to join the cooperative.  Use the attached certification to record this decision and these appointments. Bylaws and Cooperative Agreement are available for review.

Please mail original copies of the following documents to the address below:

  1. Certificate of Votes to establish MLP;
  2. Certified warrant articles & minutes; and
  3. Certificate of Votes to Join WiredWest and Make Appointments

Old Courthouse
99 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060