ENH Power & North Country Chamber Present Energy Panel

On October 22nd, the North Country Chamber of Commerce and ENH Power teamed up for a presentation and panel discussion on how to bring down electricity electricity costs and conserve energy in other areas.

On October 22nd, the North Country Chamber of Commerce and ENH Power teamed up for a presentation and panel discussion on how to bring down electricity costs and conserve energy in other areas.

With winter coming, Eversource/PSNH, Unitil, and Liberty electricity supply costs will be going up.   One of the goals of the discussion was to provide an insight into why New England electricity costs are high and what you can do now to reduce your electricity bill.

Panel experts included:  Candace Sanborn – VP of Marketing Provider Power/ENH Power, Stacy Sand, Energy Auditor-Go Green Energy Audits, Chris Miller from Rockingham Electric, Roland Berthium – Foam Insulator of North Country Spray Foam.

The next stop for the energy panel will be as part of the Mount Washington Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting (October 29, 2015).  For details about this event, visit the Mount Washington Chamber’s website.

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Electricity Maine & Maine Apartment Association Energy Panel

Electricity Maine discussed plans to offer a new Nights and Weekends plan that will allow residential and small business owners as well as property managers to pay a substantially lower rate during off-peak hours.

On October 15, 2015, Electricity Maine joined energy experts from Central Maine Power (C.M.P), Efficiency Maine, and Wesco Distribution for a discussion about managing energy costs. Sponsored by the Maine Apartment Association, representatives talked about emerging technologies, efficiency lighting, rebate opportunities, and energy management and monitoring opportunities.

Electricity Maine discussed plans to offer a new Nights and Weekends plan that will allow residential and small business owners as well as property managers to pay a substantially lower rate during off-peak hours.  If you were not lucky enough to join us for the discussion, feel free to flip though some of the information that was presented.

Additional Energy Panels are planned in the coming months.  The next energy panel will be as part of Maine Biz’s Momentum Convention on November 11th and include representatives of ReVision Energy, Central Maine Power, Summit Natural Gas, and of course Electricity Maine.


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Behind the Headlines & Electric Utility Fees

It is always good to look beyond the headlines, they don't always tell the whole story. This Wall Street Journal story about electric utility fees is one example.

The Headlines Read:

A Wall Street Journal article from October 20, 2015 suggests that utilities are seeking to punish customers because of their efforts to conserve electricity. The article, well the research used to justify the article, is based mostly on a report published by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (in Chicago).

The Research Says:

The headline and report from the Chicago group are very misleading. Yes, 22 utilities have asked for higher fees. Yes, other utilities have suggested they may ask for increases. These fees though are not a result of consumers’ conservation efforts-they are fees associated with developing a smarter grid, infrastructure upkeep and associated costs.

From WSJ.com

What the article does point out and should be of concern, flat rate ‘fees’ that every consumer pays the same amount for disproportionately impact those who use less power. While most of our electric bill can be attributed to the amount of power we use (we pay a rate per kilowatt for supply and a separate rate per kilowatt for delivery), fees are fixed and not tied to usage

Bradley Klein, a lawyer for the Environmental Law & Policy Center, is quoted this way,

The result {of higher fixed fees} is that low-use customers pay more than in the past, and high-use customers pay less.

William Dornbos from the Maine-based Acadia Center (they promote clean energy) says high monthly fees reduce the portion of the bill that a customer has the ability to lower.

Fixed fees are unpopular because they disempower the customers and discourage investments in rooftop solar and energy efficiency.

To bring this full circle, the reality is:

• In both regulated and de-regulated states, utilities have fixed rate fees. Fess are usually related to costs associated with infrastructure and technology updates.
• Utility fees are the one part of your electric bill not tied to kilowatt usage.
• Fees are approved by regulators, consumers do have an opportunity to speak up and oppose (or support them) before enacted.
• Deregulated states, where consumers select their supply company, are not immune to these utility fees.
• Conservation efforts don’t cause these fees to increase; this is especially true in states with energy choice

A copy of the author's Central Maine Power bill showing "Fixed Delivery Fee"
A copy of the author’s Central Maine Power bill showing “Fixed Delivery Fee”

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Business, Community Energy Savings, New Hampshire

ENH Power Applauds Increased Transparency with new N.H. PUC shopping site

As has been widely reported by numerous news outlets, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission launched a new website for electricity consumers.  The website can be found at the commission’s website under the consumer interests tab.

According to the N.H. PUC, shoppers identify whether they are residential or small commercial customers and then select their local utility from the list that includes Eversource, Unitil, NH Electric Cooperative and Liberty Utilities.

At ENH Power and across the Provider Power family of companies (including Electricity Maine and Provider Power Mass) we have consistently supported the efforts of advocates and regulators across the region to encourage transparency around electricity choice.  The Massachusetts DPU is about to launch their test site, the Office of Public Advocate in Maine already has a website dedicated to providing information about electricity choice to residential and small business consumers.

Homeowners, renters, and those who run small business have many options and a lot of information to digest before they can make informed decisions about how they want to purchase electricity.  These tools can be a valuable resource.

According to the story in the Concord Monitor, Amanda Noonan, director of the commission’s consumer affairs division, cautioned that consumers need to be sure they read and understand the terms of the offers, such as whether the price is fixed or variable and the duration of the offer.

This new site by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commissions shows that rate is just one consideration when looking at electricity supply options. Length of contract, fixed or variable plans, and clear terms and conditions need to be part of the buying process. By making information clear, concise and easy to understand, Granite Stater’s can make better decisions about their buying their electricity.




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Energy Panel: Energy Efficiency & What It Means for Your Properties

With electricity rates likely to increase this winter we are teaming up with energy experts to provide a forum to discuss energy conservation, energy management tools and the importance of shopping for electricity plans.

With electricity rates likely to increase this winter, Electricity Maine is teaming up with Central Maine Power, Wesco Distribution and Efficiency Maine to provide a forum for property owners and facility managers to discuss opportunities for energy conservation, energy management tools and the importance of shopping for electricity plans.

Sponsored by the Maine Apartment Association, topics will include lighting and appliance upgrades (whose costs can be off-set by Efficiency Maine rebate programs), smart grid technology offered through CMP and information about electricity choice in a deregulated market.


Fall Education Seminar


To purchase tickets or other information visit The Maine Apartment Association’s website.

Panelists scheduled to appear are Mark Whitney from Wesco, Rick Meiking from Efficiency Maine, Brianna Pierce from CMP’s Energy Management Program and Emile Clavet, Co-Founder of Electricity Maine/Provider Power.

This energy forum is just the first of several Electricity Maine will be participating in over the next few months.   Future energy panels will include similar discussions around energy choice, conservation, and rebate opportunities.  Panels are planned for Augusta/Kennebec Valley area, Mid-Coast, Bangor, Lewiston/Auburn and York County.






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Energy Efficiency Tips for Autumn

It's that time of year again - the leaves are changing color and temps are dropping. How can you still save on energy, you ask? Here are some energy efficiency tips for Autumn.

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Simple Tips to Save Money & Energy Around the House

No more thinking or guesswork - Here are some simple ways you can cut back on energy consumption for each room in your home - and save money while doing so!

Have you ever wondered how you can cut energy costs depending on the room you’re in? Now, we take the thinking and guessing out of it. Here are some simple ways you can cut back on energy consumption for each major room in your home.

Save Money and; Energy Around the House

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More Nat Gas Pipelines May Not Be The Answer

Calls for more studies of natural gas capacity and more pipelines may not be answer to the rollercoaster rate ride offered by the utilities.

In general, the two main drivers of wholesale electricity prices in New England are the cost of fuel used to produce electricity and consumer demand.

The closure of nuclear power plants, the costs of operating coal fired plants in New England, and the region’s dependence on natural gas has contributed to price volatility.

Instead of going with fixed, longer term rates many residential and small business consumers continue to use their utility as their supply company. In Massachusetts consumers who have not yet selected an electricity supply company (like Provider Power Mass) and instead continue to get their supply from their utility, are subjected to wicked rate swings.   .

On the political front many have sought answers, stepping up on behalf of constituents, recommending the situation be studied…and studied…and studied.  Since electricity prices are (as previously stated) a product of supply versus demand, conventional wisdom is that if you increase supply-then prices should stabilize.  As a result of these studies and the opinions of experts, underway are several initiatives to increase the flow of natural gas into Massachusetts (as well as Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island).

There is of course a wrinkle.

As pointed out in a recent Boston Glob piece, Ann Berwick a former Massachusetts’ undersecretary for energy and later head of the Mass. Department of Public Utilities, more product doesn’t necessarily mean lower prices. She suggests we look at electricity costs in Pennsylvania.

Boston Globe.  8/17/15
Boston Globe. 8/17/15

Berwick says consumers need to have a thorough understanding of all the players and their roles in this debate, as well as some realities that don’t always make headlines.

  • Many proponents of added capacity are energy companies.  Under current regulations, utilities make more money by building infrastructure than by encouraging conservation and energy efficiency. So, of course, they argue for infrastructure.
  • Black & Veatch study — done under the auspices of the New England States Committee on Electricity — favored more natural gas, but also concluded that if increased energy efficiency limits growth in the demand, no additional gas will be needed.
  • New natural gas pipeline capacity won’t be a benign solution to our electricity or energy challenges. It would exacerbate our dependence on a single fuel with a history of price volatility.   This dependence could impact future policy towards a fossil fuel that is far from clean, and increase our reliance on a fuel that depends on fracking.

At Provider Power we believe an independent, thorough analysis of the energy/electricity landscape in New England is needed.  Consumer understanding and education should continue to be a priority.  At Provider Power Mass, regardless of the energy landscape, we will continue to offer competitive, long term fixed rates and information to help Massachusetts consumers mitigate the rate roller-coaster rate ride.  To learn more about Provider Power Mass, please visit us at www.providerpowermass.com.


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