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Stop digging: Lowering electric rates for NH

April 17. 2018 6:43PM

The first rule of holes is to stop digging.

Faced with high electric rates that place a burden on families and a barrier to business expansion, the New Hampshire Legislature should stop passing bills that increase electric rates.

Gov. Chris Sununu’s new energy plan includes several steps the Legislature could take to lower those rates. But it also highlights several things we should stop doing.

We should stop forcing utilities, and ultimately ratepayers, to purchase power at above-market rates simply because we want to help the businesses generating that power. These ratepayer subsidies are meant to prop up biomass plants, small-scale hydroelectric dams, and waste-to-energy incinerators. Sununu is asking lawmakers to weigh the cost of such mandates. Sununu also questions the efficacy of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards, which micromanages where utilities must purchase renewable power. Loosening those mandates would maintain the program’s environmental benefits while reducing the cost to New Hampshire ratepayers.

Sununu also wants to examine how large scale infrastructure projects are sited in New Hampshire, a controversial position giving local opposition to pipelines and power lines. Blocking new energy from coming into New Hampshire will keep prices high.

The most efficient energy policy would be for state government to get out of the way.

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