Electric Competition Continues to Provide Lower Prices, Cleaner Alternatives to PSNH

 The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has authorized Public Service of New Hampshire’s (“PSNH”) proposal to slightly lower the rate it charges, reflecting growing competition it is facing from alternative suppliers in New Hampshire. Although PSNH’s new rate is lower than its rate from the prior six months, it is still as much as 10-20 percent higher on average than alternative suppliers’. 

EmpowerNH, a coalition of New Hampshire energy companies, businesses, trade groups, and environmental organizations, applauds the continued development of electric competition in New Hampshire and the state policymakers that allowed the market to develop. EmpowerNH  launched in May  to educate New Hampshire residents and businesses about the choices they have in an increasingly competitive market and how to go about exercising their power to choose their electric supplier.

“Electric competition has finally taken off in New Hampshire and it’s bringing lots of choices and benefits to consumers,” said Taff Tschamler, Senior Vice President at North American Power and EmpowerNH coalition member.  “Competition empowers consumers to take control over their electric bill, to choose the company they want to do business with and to choose the rate plans and generation sources that best fit their preferences.”

The rate decrease, which takes effect July 1, reflects PSNH’s concern about the ongoing migration of customers to competitive suppliers. Approximately 100,000 PSNH customers have left the state’s largest utility and switched to competitive suppliers. However, PSNH’s prices still reflect the cost to maintain its expensive and aging power plants, even as they operate less and less. Because other power suppliers available to New Hampshire residents and businesses are not saddled by these costs, they can offer lower prices than PSNH from cleaner sources than the inefficient fossil fuel power plants PSNH operates.  As a result, customers are continuing to choose new providers at a rapid pace.

“In addition to lower rates, customers that choose a new supplier are choosing cleaner electricity.  That’s because PSNH is the only utility in New England which continues to own aging and inefficient coal and oil plants.  Virtually every other supplier provides power from more efficient, less polluting sources,” said Jonathan Peress, Vice President and Director, Clean Energy and Climate Change at Conservation Law Foundation and EmpowerNH member.

As of May, more than 50 percent of electricity sold in PSNH’s service area was supplied by competitive suppliers and that amount continues to grow.  According to the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, the state agency responsible for overseeing the state’s electricity market, there are now 13 registered suppliers and eight that market to residential customers.  

“The competitive process is working well for New Hampshire residents, doing what it was designed to do, which is to bring electricity supply rates down,” said Kevin Dean, co-owner of ENH Power, another EmpowerNH coalition member.

“The drop in PSNH’s rates reflects the company’s response to competitive pressures, and demonstrates how New Hampshire consumers benefit from the state’s retail energy market even if they elect not to shop for a competitive supplier,” said Dan Allegretti, the Retail Energy Supply Association’s state chair. “That said, customers would do well to shop and take advantage of the value provided by competitive suppliers.”

How It Works
Making the choice is simple and quick. Customers who switch will continue to receive a single bill from PSNH and pay their bill the same way they normally do. PSNH will still be responsible for the delivery service.  That means PSNH will still be responsible for the wires into customer’s homes, reading the meter, trimming trees and responding to outages.  No new equipment is required and PSNH does not need to come to the customer’s home to make the switch.  Customers can review the list of companies offering service at the New Hampshire Public Utility Commission website or by calling the PUC at 1-800-528-2070. Once the customer has chosen a supplier, they can sign up over the phone by calling the supplier or go online to the supplier’s website.  With the customer’s PSNH bill and account number, it usually takes just a few minutes to make the switch.

About EmpowerNH
EmpowerNH is a diverse coalition of New Hampshire energy companies, businesses, trade groups, and environmental organizations.  Founding members of the EmpowerNH coalition include Campaign for Ratepayer Rights, COMPETE Coalition, Conservation Law Foundation, ENH Power, the Green Alliance, North American Power, and the Retail Energy Supply Association. EmpowerNH believes that competition among electricity suppliers is good for New Hampshire residents, businesses, and the state’s economy and environment. To learn more, visit www.empowernh.com

Posted on July 1, 2013 in ENH Power

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