New Hampshire Energy Rates Rising and Rising
PSNH, the default utility company in New Hampshire, has gotten approval to raise customers' rates by quite a large amount. This has happened in spite of the fact that the company was already charging more than some of the competitive lower cost energy suppliers in the region. The increase has raised eyebrows among regulators in the state despite the fact that they did allow the change to move forward.
Energy deregulation means that customers can choose their energy suppliers in a competitive marketplace. The utility company, in this case PSNH, continues to deliver the electricity and there is a small charge for that. A tiny portion (less than $1) of the rate increase is for that portion of the bill. However, the supplier sets the rate of the energy cost.
PSNH was previously charging 7.11 cents per kWh for energy, meaning that the average customer using 500 kWh of energy per month was spending just over $33 on their monthly energy bills. The newly approved rate is 9.54 cents per kWh, making the average monthly bill close to $48. That is money that can stay in customers' pockets if they are smart about what company they use to get their energy.
New Hampshire regulators may have approved the rate increase but they issued a stern warning to PSNH with their approval. PSNH admitted that customer migration (meaning customers leaving for other providers) accounts for part of their need to raise rates. Regulators note that it is unfair to have an increasingly smaller base of customers foot the big costs of energy, especially since it is primarily residential customers that are still with the company. Further, they say that raising NH electricity rates will only cause more customers to migrate and this will mean a need to increase rates again in the future. They say that although the rate increase at this time is reasonable, the cycle can't continue in the years to come.
PSNH has said that part of their requested rate increase was also due to expected increases in the cost of purchasing energy. If energy rates do go up, it is possible that other companies will also raise their rates. At this time, however, there are much lower rates to be found in New Hampshire from smaller utility providers than the rates now being required by PSNH.
Publish Date: 2013-01-22 12:08:59
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