Customers of the state’s largest electric utility are set to get a tiny reprieve in their bills. Public Service of New Hampshire’s latest rate filing forecasts the average customer will save 31 cents a month, despite rising energy costs.
PSNH asked to increase its energy service rate – that’s the amount customers pay for the actual electricity – by six tenths of a cent, up to 9.87 cents. That’s.11 cents less than PSNH forecast it would have to hike rates back in May.
At the same time, a charge on the delivery rate – which all customers pay for upkeep of poles, wires and other grid components – is set to fall.
This is in part because the money from a settlement between a number of nuclear power plants and the federal government is now working its way back to consumers, but also because the state has begun to rebate some of the money earned in auctions of carbon allowances under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative back to consumers.
The RGGI statute was changed in 2012 so that all auction proceeds over $1 per carbon allowance would be returned to customers in lower electricity bills. PSNH estimates that the average customer will receive about 78 cents a month of RGGI proceeds on a bill.
In the latest auction, carbon allowances were selling for more than $5 per ton of CO2.
Previously, all of that money went into the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Fund, which was used to give grants to encourage development of renewable energy, and energy efficiency. The grants became a lightning rod for critics of the program.
If approved by regulators, the new PSNH rates will take effect on July 1st.