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June 16. 2014 8:38PM

PSNH reverses prediction, proposes rate cut

Residential customers of Public Service of New Hampshire would see their monthly electric bills drop slightly — not rise as earlier forecasted — starting July 1 if regulators approve.

An average PSNH residential customer using 500 kilowatt hours of energy would see the monthly bill cut by 31 cents a month — less than 1 percent — to $91.68 if the state Public Utilities Commission approves the rate request, the utility said Monday.

In May, PSNH had indicated it expected to ask for a rate hike that would have raised the average monthly bill to $93.55, or 1.7 percent over current bills.

But that did not factor in $6.3 million in proceeds from the state for the sale of carbon emission allowances or $14.4 million PSNH received in refunds for decommissioning costs for several retired nuclear power plants.

PSNH spokesman Martin Murray said the energy service charge, which includes the cost of energy, will go up $3.20 a month, but that was less than PSNH had anticipated in the May filing.

The energy charge “is a requested increase because of the higher forecasted energy cost for the coming year and winter as well as for this past winter,” Murray said.

But overall, the cost of a kilowatt of power would drop from 18.397 cents to 18.336 cents if the PUC approves the rate change, he said.

PSNH, the state’s largest electric utility, serves more than 500,000 homes and businesses in 211 cities and towns.

Independent power producers use PSNH’s lines to deliver electricity to their customers.

North American Power, which has about 40,000 New Hampshire electric customers, declined to specifically address the PSNH rate proposal.

“North American Power is proud to be a part of energy choice in New Hampshire, which has allowed customers to take control of their electricity bills by finding a plan in the market that best suits their needs,” utility spokesman Tiffany Eddy said.

mcousineau@unionleader.com



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