PSNH says upcoming rate hike a result of winter fuel costs
An average PSNH energy customer using 500 kilowatt hours of electricity a month would pay $93.55 a month compared to $91.99 currently. That same customer paid $87.75 the last six months of last year, said PSNH spokesman Martin Murray.
PSNH said it encountered high energy costs last winter when it had to buy power on the open market.
“The reason it is increasing this year is because of extreme volatility in the regional marketplace as a result of mainly the supply and volatility of natural gas, which the region is increasingly dependent on,” Murray said Friday.
“The numbers could certainly change in June,” Murray said. That happened late last year when the initial forecast of 8.96 cents per kilowatt hour for the energy service charge was changed to 9.23 cents.
“Independent suppliers have acknowledged that they move customers back to PSNH when market prices are higher than our Energy Service rate,” Murray said. “That requires us to then purchase higher priced energy from the market to meet demand above and beyond what our more economical power plants produce. Part of our July 1 adjustment is to recover the incurred cost.”
A statement from North American Power, which has about 40,000 New Hampshire electric customers said: “North American Power does not move customers back to PSNH service when market prices are higher.”
PSNH said the projected rate increase could be less if the Legislature passes a Senate bill that reallocates how PSNH charges customers for expenses of the state Public Utilities Commission.
“That would have lessened the need for more expensive fossil fuel energy consumption,” Murray said.