- Liberty Utilities has asked New Hampshire regulators to reduce rates for summer electric residential service, potentially resulting in an almost $50 per month reduction in customer bills.
- The utility, which serves portions of the west and south of the state, has asked the Public Utilities Commission for authority to reduce rates 55.6%, though officials caution there will be likely increases after the warmer months.
- While Liberty is the first in the state to ask for the reduction, the New Hampshire Union Leader reports similar filings are expected by other regulated utilities.
A rate filing from a small New Hampshire utility demonstrates just how high natural gas prices can push electric rates during the winter for New England residents. Earlier this week, Liberty Utilities asked state regulators to let it cut rates for summer by more than half, and the Union Leader reports that similar cuts are on the way from the Granite State's other utilities.
While it may only be temporary relief, for New Hampshire residents still digging out from a punishing winter any is welcome. Liberty's reduction request for the summer would drop rates to 6.8 cents/KWh on May 1, down from 15.4 cents/KWh.
“Until we see more natural gas pipeline capacity in New England, electric prices will continue to be high in winter,” said a spokesman for the utility, John Shore. “Hopefully they won’t be as high next winter, but we certainly expect the price to increase again on November 1st.”
Once approved by the PUC, the residential rate will be fixed from May 1 through October 31. Rates for commercial and industrial customers will see similar reductions during this period. Regulators are expected to issue a ruling by the end of the month.
“We don’t generate our own electricity so we purchase it from wholesale marketers,” said Shore. “As expected, market prices dropped significantly compared to last winter. We were able to secure contracts with rates that are even lower than last summer.”
“Customers have been faced with record high electric prices all winter. Finally, relief is on the way," Shore said.