PUC approves a rate increase for EversourceBy DAVE SOLOMON
New Hampshire Union Leader
June 29. 2016 8:08PM
CONCORD — The Public Utilities Commission has approved the new six-month energy supply rate for New Hampshire’s largest utility, Eversource.
As of July 1, the energy service rate will increase from the current rate of 9.99 cents per kilowatt hour to 10.95 cents per kwh.
This change, combined with changes to other charges, will result in an overall increase in monthly bills from $115 to $125, an increase of 8.4 percent, for the typical residential customer taking energy service from Eversource and using 625 kwh per month.
Eversource in May predicted an increase of rate of 10.94 cents for energy service.
Energy service is the cost of the power, separate from the transmission, distribution and other customer charges. It makes up about half the typical residential bill.
The Office of Consumer Advocate at the PUC expressed concern about the increased energy costs for residential customers who continue to take energy service from Eversource. The OCA, however, said that the company’s proposed rate was just and reasonable, and recommended approval.
The Eversource energy service charge rate is calculated annually and adjusted every six months, based on the company’s actual cost of producing or purchasing energy. The other utilities, which do not own power plants, base their prices strictly on the wholesale costs they pay for the power.
The Eversource energy supply rate also reflects costs associated with environmental improvements to the coal-fired Merrimack Station plant in Bow, which currently add 1.72 cents to energy service only in the Eversource territory.
The New Hampshire Electric Coop, a member-owned distribution company serving 84,000 customers in the central part of the state, recently announced a decrease of 43 percent in the energy supply portion of electric bills for NHEC customers, from 9.5 cents per kwh to 5.3 cents, from May 1 to Nov. 1, the lowest since 2006.
Unitil, the distribution company serving the Seacoast and Concord areas, has applied to regulators for approval of a 5.97 cent energy supply rate from June 1 to Nov. 1, down from the current rate of 9.4 cents, also the lowest in a decade.
Liberty Utilities, which serves about 6 percent of the retail customers, is expected to announce its new rates in July.