Customers of the state’s largest electric utility are set to get a tiny reprieve in their bills. Public Service of New Hampshire’s latest rate filing forecasts the average customer will save 31 cents a month, despite rising energy costs.
New Hampshire’s largest utility estimates customers will see a two percent average rate hike this year. Public Service of New Hampshire filed its rate adjustment forecast with the Public Utilities Commission Friday. PSNH says higher energy prices over the winter and continued volatility in the market could translate into higher power bills. The utility has not yet requested a rate change from the PUC.
LaCapra estimates that compared to a $500 million "book value" Merrimack station would sell for somewhere around $10 million, or 2% of it's value. Schiller Station could see a similar mark down, at 6.5% of it's value.
An independent assessment commissioned by electrical regulators has released a preliminary report that finds some of Public Service of New Hampshire’s fossil-fired plants hold little market value. The report agrees with what staff at the Public Utilities Commission said last year.
This winter’s cold weather has proven a boon to Public Service of New Hampshire and its customers. Spikes in the price of natural gas have lifted regional electric prices, making PSNH’s rates competitive again.
PSNH says during most of the winter it was able to more cheaply produce electricity using its fleet of power plants than buying it on the open market and this saved the company $115 million dollars, savings which will be passed on to customers.
The New Hampshire House appears poised to send the question of whether the state's largest utility should sell its power plants to regulators.
In 2012, lawmakers tried to force PSNH to sell its power plants outright, but that effort stalled in the New Hampshire house. So this time around they’ve written a bill that asks the Public Utilities Commission to rule on whether that sale would eventually lower electric rates.
That bill got near unanimous support during a committee hearing Thursday, including from PSNH itself.
ISO New England, the region’s energy grid operator, has suspended the independent supplier People’s Power and Gas. 5,700 Granite State customers who turned to PPG for lower rates will be automatically switched to prices set by Public Service of New Hampshire.
Today Public Service of New Hampshire launched its Electric Vehicle Hotline, where consumers can find out about electric cars currently on the market. The move comes as electric car sales have begun to pick up, and utilities see those drivers as a sales opportunity.
Since June New Hampshire lawmakers have been grappling with what to do about the persistently above market cost of electricity at the state’s largest utility, Public Service of New Hampshire. Now the legislative committee wants advice from regulators to see if selling PSNH’s power plants is the solution, but that advice may be slow in coming.
New Hampshire lawmakers say new leadership at Public Service of New Hampshire has brought a change of tone. For policy-makers this as a welcome development as they seek a solution to the steady bleed of customers from the state’s largest utility.
The campaign to promote this Canadian Hydropower project, focused until now on the North Country, has moved into central regions of the state. Many of the concerns about towers and landscapes heard up North are being echoed elsewhere, but so are arguments that the state needs this source of renewable energy.