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Consumer Advocate Seeks Relief On Liberty Rate Hike

New Hampshire’s Consumer Advocate has asked regulators to soften the blow of a big rate hike expected for as many as 42,000 New Hampshire electricity customers. The average customer of Liberty Utilities, which provides electricity to towns on the Massachusetts border and in the Upper Valley, says customers, might pay as much as $50 more per month for winter if the increase is granted, a 50 percent increase.

On cold winter days, homes burning natural gas for heating fill up most of the pipelines coming into New England, and what little gas is left over becomes very expensive.

“And so the suppliers are building that risk into their prices and that’s resulting in these very high price spikes,” says Susan Chamberlain, the state’s ratepayer advocate, who has asked the Public Utilities Commission to intervene and level out that price-spike. The possible solution would be to buy energy for the winter in a way that means “customers pay a little bit over market in the summer, and the fall and spring, and they pay a little bit under market in the winter.”

The PUC says it will rule on Liberty Utilities rate increase on Monday.

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