PSNH increases rate but still undercuts some competitors
Public Service of New Hampshire customers can expect a 4.7 percent increase in their next bill.
Last week, the state Public Utilities Commission approved PSNH’s request to raise its rate from 8.62 cents per kilowatt hour to 9.23 cents. PSNH officials attributed the increase to two factors: Energy costs climbed, from $85.4 a megawatt-hour in September to $112.8 a megawatt-hour in December; and during that same period, the number of customers who dropped PSNH for alternative energy providers went from 52 percent to 53.7 percent.
The new rate means a PSNH customer who uses 500 kilowatt-hours a month will see his bill increase by $4.17, to a total of $91.87 a month, said utility spokesman Martin Murray.
The new PSNH rate is lower than Unitil’s of 9.55 cents a kilowatt-hour and the rate offered yesterday by Glacial Energy of Sandwich, Mass., which was selling energy at rates between 9.39 cents a kilowatt-hour and 9.69 cents a kilowatt-hour.
Liberty Utilities of Londonderry has a rate of 8.89 cents a kilowatt-hour. ENH Power of Maine and Power New England in Auburn both listed their lowest rates at 8.20 cents a kilowatt-hour. North American Power of Connecticut offered two rates yesterday: 9.19 cents a kilowatt-hour for customers switching from Unitil and 7.99 cents a kilowatt-hour for those coming from PSNH.
Thomas Shaughnessy of Manchester left PSNH for North American Power in March after talking with a company representative at a home show. He switched because North American Power offered him a six-month rate of 7.29 cents a kilowatt-hour. He was paying PSNH 8.6 cents a kilowatt-hour at the time.
“I never had a problem with PSNH. It’s just they were a lot higher,” Shaughnessy said.
He has a geothermal house and uses electricity to heat it. Last month, he got a much higher bill than he expected. He noticed that North American Power had increased his rate to 11.49 cents a kilowatt-hour. When he inquired about it, Shaughnessy said a company representative told him his six-month fixed rate had ended and he was now paying a variable rate.
When Shaughnessy said he wanted to return to PSNH, the company representative told him doing so would take a month, maybe two, Shaughnessy said. He said he pressed for a lower rate and mentioned PSNH’s new rate of 9.2 cents a kilowatt-hour and was offered a temporary rate of 7.49 cents a kilowatt-hour.
When Shaughnessy complained further, he said he was offered a $25 Visa gift card.
A call to North American Power was not returned yesterday afternoon.
“I was dumbfounded,” Shaughnessy said. “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, because you don’t know what the other side is doing.”
(Annmarie Timmins can be reached at 369-3323 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @annmarietimmins.)