After months of heated bidding against NextEra Energy Resources, Eversource Energy, formerly Northeast Utilities, has won the right to build one of the largest electric infrastructure projects in New England history.
Citing lower costs, ISO New England, the regional grid operator, selected Eversource—partnered with National Grid—to build the ‘Greater Boston and Southern New Hampshire Reliability Project.’
Public Service of New Hampshire is no more as Northeast Utilities adopts its new name as part of a rebranding effort.
The utility, based in Hartford and Boston, and all its subsidiaries will be known beginning Monday, Feb. 2 as Eversource Energy.
The company said it launched an initiative in 2013 focusing on integrating its electric and gas companies and improving customer service. It included options for the utility's brand as it worked to integrate companies in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The scrubber at Merrimack Station in Bow, pictured here while under construction, was originally estimated to cost $250 million, but wound up costing $422 million. A major proceeding to determine if PSNH could bill ratepayers for that full cost has now been stayed.
The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has agreed to put the brakes on a big decision regarding the state’s largest electric utility, Public Service of New Hampshire.
The first is how much it will be reimbursed for a scrubber on a power plant in Bow that saw more than hundred million dollars more than was initially estimated. And the second is whether they should be allowed to continue to own power-plants – period – or if instead independent, third-parties should be the only companies in the electricity generation market.
Public Service of New Hampshire wants to seek a settlement on two major proceedings currently before utility regulators.
The first decision facing the Public Utilities Commission is how much ratepayers should have to spend to reimburse the cost of a $422 million scrubber on its coal-fired power plant in Bow. The second is whether it’s in customers’ best interest to allow PSNH to keep its power plants, or if the utility should sell them.
The state’s largest electric company has asked for a winter price hike. Even after the increase Public Service of New Hampshire will still have the lowest winter rate of any utility in the state.
PSNH has asked regulators for an energy rate of 10.56 six cents per kilowatt hour, an increase from the current rate of 9.87 cents per kWh. The utility estimates that for an average rate-payer, using between 500 and 700 kWh per month, bills will rise somewhere between $5 and $8.
The question of who will pay the cost of cleaning up emissions from the state’s largest coal-fired power plant is before the Public Utilities Commission this week.
“The issue that we’re facing here today is that as a result of increases of costs of commodities as well as increases in the engineering complexity of what we had to build, the price was higher than a lot of people expected it to be,” said PSNH’s lead attorney Bob Bersak.
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.
Public Service of New Hampshire says that its former CEO, Gary Long, died Friday afternoon after a sudden illness.
Long started at PSNH in 1976, and began his tenure as CEO in 2000. He led the state’s largest utility at a time when the state restructured the electric utility industry. He stepped down as CEO last year to take a role leading the Northern Pass project through the regulatory process. He was also serving as chair of the board of directors for the Granite United Way.
According to new numbers filed with the state’s Public Utilities Commission, a little less than 56 percent of the electricity sold to consumers in the service territory of the state’s largest utility, Public Service of New Hampshire, came from competitive suppliers. That number peaked at 58 percent last October before dropping to 49 percent in February thanks to soaring winter electric market prices.
“This could be a plateau, we did see some leveling off of the migration numbers in late 2013, and then we saw a big reversal,” says Martin Murray, PSNH spokesman.
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.
Residents in the border town of Elliot, Maine have voted to ask the EPA to test air quality downwind of a Portsmouth power plant. Eliot is just across the river from Schiller Station, a three-boiler plant run by Public Service of New Hampshire. Two of its boilers burn mostly coal, and a third burns primarily wood chips.
Power New England, the electricity supplier that was kicked out of the regional market for not
paying its bills, has proposed a settlement with regulators. The company has agreed to reimburse customers for the confusion its hasty exit from the market caused. The settlement proposes cutting $9.50 checks to the roughly 7,300 former PNE customers who were switched to Public Service of New Hampshire. In all the payments will cost PNE around $70,000.
Cheap natural gas prices have led to a boom in the construction of gas generating power plants. That combined with market deregulation in New England have set the stage for some tumultuous times in the New England electricity market for years to come.
Many Granite State electric customers are scratching their heads after an electricity supplier, Power New England, was abruptly kicked out of the market two weeks ago. Customers of Power New England and its sister company, Resident Power, have had to try to sort out what's going on from media reports where utilities and power suppliers are slinging accusations back forth indiscriminately.
So here’s a breakdown of what has happened to date.
Most New Hampshire utilities are reporting snow related outages. As of last check, PSNH had the most outages, at around 1,800. Nearly 450 of those were in Canterbury, while Hooksett got hit with more than 400 outages. In Deerfield, 190 customers are reportedly without power.
Today's snowstorm is set to drop two to four inches across most of the state by tonight. The Seacoast could see up to six inches. While it's a slower-moving storm than Nemo two weeks ago, numerous power outages have been reported. By 12:25 pm, these are the communities that have been impacted most.
The state’s Public Utilities Commission is planning to investigate whether PSNH is charging consumers too much for electricity.
In an order issued Friday afternoon the state’s Public Utilities Commission says it wants to know more about how Public Service of New Hampshire is operating and how that affects consumers and the state.
In particular the commission says it will investigate “how PSNH proposes to maintain safe and reliable service” and “just and reasonable rates” in light of market conditions.