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Eversource Plans Residential, Commercial Rate Hikes For 2019

creative commons

Eversource’s residential customers will likely see their bills increase in February, after the utility asks state regulators to approve a proposed rate hike this week.

New Hampshire's largest utility says it needs to increase its default electric service rate for the first half of next year by about half a cent per kilowatt-hour.  

This would increase the average residential or small business customer's monthly bill by a little less than $3.50.

Eversource spokesman William Hinkle says those customers will still be paying around $7.50 less a month than they were at the beginning of this year.

Meanwhile, the 13 percent of Eversource's large-scale and business customers that buy their electricity directly from Eversource, instead of on the wholesale market, will pay approximately 4 cents more per kilowatt-hour beginning in February.

Their rate will decrease monthly through next July, to about 2 cents less than those customers are paying now. 

Hinkle says all the changes are the result of volatility in the energy market, and customers shouldn't think it's about increasing Eversource's profit.

“We share their goal to keep energy rates as low as possible,” Hinkle says. “The key is, we need to address some really fundamental supply challenges facing our region.”

He says those challenges include limited natural gas pipeline capacity and retiring nuclear and fossil fuel-fired power plants.  

Utilities get state permission to revise their default service rate every six months, based on bids from power plants and generators to sell their electricity through those utilities.

The resulting service rate makes up just over half of customers' total monthly bills, regardless of their provider. The rest of those bills comes from transmission and distribution charges. 

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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