Public Service seeks rate hike; blames energy costs
Public Service of New Hampshire announced on Friday that it would ask regulators to approve an energy charge of 9.23 cents per kilowatt hour, effective Jan. 1, an increase of .61 cents per kwh from the current rate of 8.62 cents.
"The updated rate appears to be in line with what is occurring with the region's utilities, largely as a result of higher energy market prices," said PSNH spokesperson Mike Skelton.
The other two regulated utilities previously offered default rates that were equal to or lower than competitive rates, but they, too, are now likely to lose energy supply customers due to rate hikes approved late this year.
Volatile natural gas price
The state's two largest competitive suppliers are offering lower rates than all three regulated utilities. ENH Power is offering a "Long Saver" rate fixed at 8.70 cents per kwh for 24 months. North American Power is offering a 7.99 cent six-month fixed rate, and a 7.69 cent 12-month fixed rate.
PSNH is the only regulated utility in the state that also operates power plants, the cost of which is built into the PSNH energy charge. About one penny of the PSNH energy supply charge is associated with cost-recovery on more than $422 million spent on mercury scrubbers at the Merrimack Station coal-fired plant in Bow.
Speaking at the N.H. Business and Industry Association Energy Seminar last week in Manchester, Jim Shuckerow, director of energy supply for Northeast Utilities, predicted there would be no new "iron in the ground" into New England until 2020, with natural gas prices expected to continue to rise from their 2012-2013 low-water mark between now and then."Perhaps 2013 will be recalled as the good old days of power-supply pricing," he said.
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