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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Maine utility regulators are warning electrical energy prospects to brace for an enormous price hike

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Maine’s residential electrical energy customers are probably in for a jolt, with provide costs coming near doubling and including a whole lot of {dollars} to annual residential payments.

On Tuesday the Maine Public Utilities Fee opened bids for the default, commonplace supply electrical energy provide for patrons served by Versant’s utility strains. The bottom bid for provide to start out flowing subsequent yr was 89% larger than this yr.

“It isn’t a excellent news story, that is for certain,” says Phil Bartlett, who chairs the fee.

Bartlett says that subsequent yr’s charges are being pushed by a nationwide and even worldwide mismatch between power provide and demand heading into winter, with costs for fossil fuels leaping up.

“What we have seen is wholesale markets within the area have been trending upward,” he says. “That is largely pushed by will increase within the value of pure gasoline. We’re nonetheless very dependent in our electrical energy manufacturing on pure gasoline, and so when there are large swings up or down in pure gasoline costs, we bear the brunt of that. The final two years we have had decrease pure gasoline costs which have benefited customers; this yr we’re getting in the wrong way.”

Bartlett says typical Versant residential prospects who take commonplace supply provide can count on payments to rise as a lot as $30 a month. That is on prime of a $5.50 a month hike regulators lately authorized on the distribution facet to finance investments in Versant’s poles and features.

But because the state’s appearing public advocate, Andrew Landry, notes, customers aren’t essentially caught with the usual supply for the whole yr. They’ll choose to purchase from a aggressive provider as properly, and whereas he says their costs have been going up for comparable causes, customers ought to hold a pointy eye on their gives as winter passes.

“One factor that I’d count on to occur is after we get via for instance January and even February the aggressive suppliers who are actually previous that hump of anticipated excessive costs could begin decreasing costs to steal prospects from the usual supply,” Landry says.

The advocate’s workplace presents info on what aggressive suppliers are providing on its web site. Landry says lawmakers could need to take a detailed have a look at changes in the way in which commonplace supply bids are structured, to permit for longer phrases and hedging that would shield towards short-term spikes.

The Public Utilities Fee, in the meantime, is about on Wednesday to open commonplace supply provide bids for folks served by Central Maine Energy’s strains. Observers say that comparable invoice hikes may be anticipated.





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