Lawmakers, energy developers, and policy wonks descended on downtown Concord today for the annual New Hampshire Energy summit. The event couldn’t come at a more appropriate time, last week New Hampshire electric utilities – with the notable exception of the state’s largest, Public Service of New Hampshire – announced winter rate hikes ranging from twelve to fifty percent.
Another utility has announced that electric rates will rise this winter. For customers of the New Hampshire Electric Coop, the state’s second largest utility, winter electricity bills will rise 12.2%
The rate increase takes place on October 1st, and will cost ratepayers using 500 kilowatt hours $12.47 cents more per month. The increase is due to increasing rates on the energy half of the electric bill, which are increasing from 8.97 cents per kilowatt hour, to 11.6 cents.
New Hampshire’s Consumer Advocate has asked regulators to soften the blow of a big rate hike expected for as many as 42,000 New Hampshire electricity customers. The average customer of Liberty Utilities, which provides electricity to towns on the Massachusetts border and in the Upper Valley, says customers, might pay as much as $50 more per month for winter if the increase is granted, a 50 percent increase.
On cold winter days, homes burning natural gas for heating fill up most of the pipelines coming into New England, and what little gas is left over becomes very expensive.