HALLOWELL, Maine, Nov. 16 -- The Maine Public Utilities Commission issued the following news release on Nov. 15, 2022:
The Maine Public Utilities Commission (Commission) accepted bids and set new Standard Offer electricity supply rates today for residential and business customers of Versant Power, Bangor Hydro District. For residential and small non-residential customers, the Standard Offer price will be 16.4 cents per kWh effective January 1, 2023, 41 percent higher than last year. The Standard Offer supply amount accounts for about 60 percent of the total customer bill, therefore the total bill increase is about 20.7 percent for an average customer using 500 kWh/month, or an increase of $23.77, from about $114.78 to about $138.55.
The new Standard Offer supply rates were set though a competitive bid process conducted by the Commission, as required by Maine law. Multiple bidders submitted sealed proposals in the Commission's annual competitive process for setting Standard Offer electricity supply prices. The increases reflect current regional electric power market conditions which are strongly influenced by natural gas, as well as costs to ensure regional electricity supply reliability.
These increases apply to customers who do not purchase electricity from a competitive supplier of their choosing and instead receive Standard Offer Supply by default.
"While we recognize that this is a significant increase that comes at a time when consumers are already faced with rising prices due to inflation, the natural gas markets have come down from a few months ago, resulting in a better outcome than we originally anticipated," Chairman Philip L. Bartlett II said. In fact, these electricity supply prices are lower than most other New England states, as shown in the table below.
We do want to make sure that consumers know there are many programs available to them to assist with utility bills and energy conservation and we encourage them to seek assistance, if needed. The Commission has a full list of programs available on the Commission website.
Forward-looking Supply-only Residential Fixed Rates in New England
State Average Price Connecticut 11.335 (CT will set new standard service generation rates this week, effective Jan. 1, 2023.)
Massachusetts 24.650 New Hampshire 18.304 Rhode Island 17.785 Vermont 18.035 New England 17.438
For Versant Medium Business Customers, the new prices vary by month, averaging 15.8 cents per kWh. Versant medium-class businesses will see an average 43% increase annually in the supply portion of their bill.
The Standard Offer prices for Versant BHDs large non-residential class will be indexed to wholesale market prices and will be set in advance of each month. The Commission will hold deliberations Wednesday, November 16, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. to accept bids and set rates for Central Maine Power Company and Versants Maine Public District.
The names of the suppliers selected today for Versant will be released in about two weeks, allowing time for power supply arrangements to be finalized. For more information on standard offer service prices visit: https://www.maine.gov/mpuc/regulated-utilities/electricity/electric-supply
An electric bill includes two components: electricity supply and delivery. The Standard Offer Supply Rate is just one component of the total electric bill.
When the electric industry restructured in 2000, utilities were required to sell their electricity generating assets and therefore no longer supplied the electricity. They do, however, maintain the infrastructure that delivers the power to your home or business. That includes substations, large transmission lines, distribution lines, utility poles and meters that connect to homes and business.
Since the law was changed in 2000, electric customers have had the option of choosing their own electricity supplier or using the default supplier, which is the supplier or suppliers chosen in the competitive bidding process for Standard Offer Electricity Supply conducted by the MPUC. Maines electric utilities do not set the rates for electricity supply, they simply bill on behalf of the suppliers so that customers do not receive two bills.
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Original text here: https://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=puc-pressreleases&id=9602045&v=article088