Local power customers to see electricity bill hike

BANGOR and PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Starting July 1, Versant Power customers will see higher electricity delivery rates. 

According to Versant spokeswoman Judy Long, Aroostook County customers in the Maine Public District will see an $8.61 increase, based on usage of 500 kilowatt-hours per month. A typical customer now pays $71.18 for delivery and Standard Offer electricity supply, a cost that will increase to $79.79.

Versant also covers the Bangor Hydro District. Typical residential customers there, using 500 kilowatt-hours a month and paying $85.20, will pay $88.34, up $3.14, as of July 1.

Long said in a June 24 press release that customers will see changes to three rates on their bills: transmission, stranded costs and conservation. Versant Power’s distribution rates will not change, and have remained unchanged since July 1, 2018.

“Versant Power’s rates are based on the cost to provide safe, reliable service throughout northern and eastern Maine, and we’re continually working to improve reliability and customer service in a cost-effective way,” Long said.

The July 1 rate changes are not associated with Versant Power’s change in name or ownership, according to the press release.

Emera Maine officially became Versant Power last month, following the March acquisition of Nova Scotia-based Emera by ENMAX Corp. of Calgary, Alberta. Versant announced its name change in a May 14 statement.

  New rates for all customers will be posted at as of July 1. Distribution rates will not increase before October 2021, and Versant Power customers will not be responsible for the costs associated with changing the company’s name, stated the release.

Versant Power reported it is working with the Maine Public Utilities Commission and the Office of the Public Advocate to distribute more than $13 million in rate credits to customers, one of the customer benefits provided by ENMAX’s acquisition of Versant Power. A proposal has been filed with the MPUC to distribute $8.1 million to all Versant Power customers as well as customers of adjacent consumer-owned utilities. 

A separate proposal seeks to distribute $5 million to low-income customers of Versant Power and adjacent consumer-owned utilities.

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