PSNH asked the Public Utilities Commission for a ten percent decrease in the price it charges for electricity. But any savings consumers might see would be eaten up by a simultaneous increase in the Stranded Cost Recovery charge.
More than a decade ago, the New Hampshire legislature partially deregulated its electricity market. The move was supposed to allow residential customers the chance to buy power from companies other than Public Service of New Hampshire, which dominates the state’s electricity market. But for a long time, nothing really happened.
For customers of the state’s largest electric utility, Public Service of New Hampshire, electric rates are going up this week. Resident Power, the new utility in town, is using that fact to beat the drums and let New Hampshire residents know they can save money on their electric bills.
Newly appointed Public Utilities Commissioner Michael Harrington says having a pension from Northeast Utilities is not a good enough reason to disqualify him from hearing a case involving the utility – and so he won’t.
Harrington made the statement in an order he signed Tuesday dismissing a motion arguing that he has an unacceptable conflict of interest.
A house bill that would consider giving the Public Utilities Commission authority to force PSNH to sell its power plants to open up market competition is getting vocal opposition from business leaders and mayors in the state.
Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier says the move will raise electric rates and scare businesses away from his community.
One of the big issues in the New Hampshire business community this legislative session is the push to continue deregulating utilities. The state's current power regulation model is something of a hybrid between old-fashioned regulation and deregulation.
Executive Councilor Ray Burton of Bath says he tried unsuccessfully to keep Meredith Hatfield as the state’s consumer advocate on public utility matters because she has been “independent minded” and helped consumers.
But last week the Republican controlled Executive Council voted 3 – 2 against re-appointing Hatfield who represents consumer interests before the Public Utilities Commission.
In the wake of recent power outages after a freak snow storm, Public Service of New Hampshire is defending the quality of its distribution grid. The electric utility says there are no perfect solutions.
Top state and federal officials have called for public hearings on the factors that left hundreds of thousands of customers without power. PSNH President Gary Long says he welcomes those hearings. Long says the power company has invested heavily in its network of poles and wires and the system has never been stronger.