|2/04: The Public Utilities Commission approved a proposal in November 2003 that encourages large commercial and industrial customers to switch from Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) to electricity purchased from competitive suppliers. The Retail Energy Services, or RES program, is designed for customers whose billing demand is one megawatt or greater. If they agree to join, they may choose a supplier and receive a per-kilowatt-hour credit against the energy portion of their electric bills. It is hoped that this credit will provide incentive to a customer to switch to a competitive supplier. Currently the transition service price is lower than the market price for electricity, so there is no reason for customers to go elsewhere. The RES program is designed to encourage comparison shopping. It is scheduled to go into effect on February 2004 and will end after two years. The program totals 100 megawatts, though PSNH has the option to increase it by another 25 megawatts. Customers who enter the program must stay with it for a minimum of six months.
1/01: The NH Supreme Court upheld the PSNH restructuring plan, clearing the way for competition to begin for the majority of consumers in New Hampshire. The PSNH plans to implement retail choice by April 2001. The plan calls for a 10-percent rate reduction; standard offer rates between 4.4 and 4.6 cents per kWh, increasing gradually over a three-year transition period; and divestiture generation assests, including PSNH's interest in Seabrook nuclear and about 1,200 MW in fossil and hydro plants.
12/00: Granite State Electric Company was granted permission to increase rates by the PUC due to the rising costs for natural gas and petroleum. The rate will rise from 3.8 cents/kWh to 5.6 cents/kWh, an average of 18.4 percent on a customer's bill.
10/00: Lawsuits filed by consumer groups challenged the new PSNH restructuring settlement concerning stranded costs recovery as unconstitutional. Competition was scheduled to begin on January 1, 2001, with an accompanying rate reduction of about 10.5%, but likely will be delayed again.
09/00: The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a settlement that resolves a three-year long dispute over the restructuring of utility Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH). The settlement, which was signed into law in June 2000, calls for the utility's residential customers to receive a 5% rate reduction on 10/01/2000. The full rate reduction will total 15.5% and will happen when "Competition Day" occurs. The actual start of competition, or Competition Day, is dependent on how soon financing of the rate reduction is completed, as well as possible legal challenges to the NHPUC orders by other parties. Residential rates will be capped for nearly three years, and businesses' rates for nearly 2 years. PSNH can now begin refinancing $800 million in debt to be paid off over 12 to 14 years. PSNH will divest its generation assets by July 2001, and operate as a transmission and distribution utility, regulated by the State.
6/00: The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative voted to set their own rates and approve financing without oversight of the PUC. The PUC will continue oversight of contracts between the cooperative and outside suppliers, IPPs, and municipal utilities as well as continuing oversight of deregulation activities and the service territory.
8/99: The PSNH filed an agreement with the PUC that could end the litigation that is blocking competition in PSNH territory. Under the agreement, PSNH would be allowed to recover $1.9 billion in stranded costs, and allow the issuance of $725 million in bonds to finance part of these costs (a process known as securitization). The governor supports the agreement, and stated that "If approved by the PUC and legislature, this agreement will reduce electric rates about 18% for families and businesses, open the door for electric competition, and end the costly litigation brought by PSNH that has blocked competition and lower rates for the past two years."
4/99: Restructuring in NH is at a standstill due to Federal court rulings concerning the PUC's efforts to set stranded costs and rates for PSNH. The continuing Federal court cases will further delay restructuring efforts in the State.
6/98: US District Court issued an order enjoining the PUC from implementing any restructuring plans until the court holds trial for the suit filed by PSNH, scheduled for November 1998.
3/97: PSNH filed a complaint in Federal District Court requesting a stay against the PUC's stranded cost recovery plan, claiming the PSNH would be forced into bankruptcy. The stay was issued, halting implementation of the restructuring plan as it applied to PSNH. The stay was extended until a trial is completed, which is expected to begin in February 1999.
2/97: The PUC issued a final plan and legal analysis for restructuring the electric power industry in NH. Among the issues addressed by the plan are market structure, unbundling electric services, stranded costs, and public policy issues such as universal service, renewable energy, and customer protections.