Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You Gotta Love Public Service of New Hampshire!

Faced with lower revenues attributed to the economic slowdown and cool summer weather, Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) is seeking approval from the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC) to change its rate structure.

PSNH wants to diminish the impact of usage on electric bills by charging higher base rates for delivery charges.

I’ve not read the company’s application to NHPUC, but from the various press reports I’ve read it appears as though the argument is that the costs of delivery electricity are rising at a rate that exceeds what can be recovered on a per-kilowatt-hour basis.

In essence, public utilities have two primary costs. The first is the cost of actually supplying electricity. PSNH, and its parent company, Northeast Utilities, both generate power from their own plants as well as purchase electricity from other power suppliers.

The second significant expense is that of building and maintaining power transmission lines, including those that transport power to individual homes and businesses and those that make up the power grid.

While the cost of generating electricity appears to be fairly stable at the present time, the costs of transporting that electricity continue to escalate. For PSNH and its parent company to continue providing what it considers acceptable returns to its investors, it is claiming a need to raise the basic fees for delivery.

In essence, what this will mean is that even people who are devoted to reducing their energy consumption are going to be faced with higher utility bills. Yes, if PSNH and Northeast Utilities have their way, and it’s likely they will, consumers will be expected to pay more for less in order to satisfy investors.

Meanwhile, I suggest contacting the Office of Consumer Advocate at NHPUC to let them know how you feel.


  1. PUC can be counted on to rule in the least favorable way for (FairPoint anyone?) NH customers.

    I just don't understand it. The nuclear power plant at Seabrook was supposed to give us electricity so cheap the meter would be running backwards.

  2. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. My note to the NHPUC, sent just now:

    In the same month I've installed PV solar panels on my roof and converted much of the house to LED lighting, PSNH is looking toward changing their billing to penalize those who reduce their electrical use to give high energy users a break.

    Under the proposed redesign, PSNH has requested a fixed charge of $12 and a fee of 3.315 cents per kilowatt hour. According to PSNH, residential customers who use less than 570 kilowatt hours would see their overall bills go up. Those who use more would see a decrease.

    This penalizes those who are trying to save money using alternative methods and by boosting efficiency. Please do everything you can to prevent this.