Business

Local electricity users to see lower bills in 2021

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Residential and business customers of Versant Power’s Maine Public District will see a 10 percent decrease in electricity supply rates in 2021, which amounts to just over a 4 percent decrease in their total bills.  

The Maine Public Utilities Commission has entered into a three-year contract with New Brunswick Energy Marketing Corporation as the standard offer provider for Maine Public’s residential and small and medium non-residential classes, the commission said in a Nov. 24 statement. 

Under the contract, which begins on Jan. 1, the standard offer prices for the residential and small non-residential class and the medium non-residential class will be indexed to comparable standard offer classes for Central Maine Power Company and Versant Power’s Bangor Hydro District through 2022. 

For residential and small business customers, the decrease amounts to a 10 percent reduction in the supply portion and a 4.4 percent reduction in the total residential customer bill, which averages 500 kWh monthly.  This points to a decrease of 0.7 cents per kilowatt hour, from 6.73 cents in 2020 to 6.03 cents in 2021, leading to a monthly savings of $3.51, or $42.16 annually.  A monthly bill of $79.78 would decrease to $76.27 a month.

Medium class customers will see an average decrease of 11.5 percent in the supply portion of their bill, meaning a medium-sized business using 20,000 kWh a month will see savings of $1,750 annually. Medium class rates will decrease from 6.47 cents per kilowatt hour to 5.63 cents next year.

“We are pleased that the process has resulted in a decrease for Versant’s Maine Public District again this year, as it did for Versant’s Bangor Hydro District and CMP,” commission chairman Philip L. Bartlett II said. 

“This is an especially tough year for many, and news of a lower bill is welcome news,” Bartlett said.

These decreases reflect electricity supply and demand conditions in New England and their impact on wholesale energy markets, the commission said. They do not apply to customers who purchase their own electricity supply in the market. Those who do not purchase electricity from a supplier of their choosing will receive Standard Offer Supply by default. 

Standard offer suppliers for Versant Power-Maine Public District residential/small business class and medium business class were awarded three-year contracts last year. 

The prices for 2022 for these classes will be set in the future after final prices for 2022 have been established.

The MPUC said an electric bill includes two components: electricity supply and delivery. Since 2000, electric customers have had the option of choosing their own electricity supplier or using the default supplier, which is the supplier or suppliers chosen in the competitive bidding process for standard offer electricity supply conducted by the commission.  This change was expected to stimulate competition in the market in an effort to keep electricity supply prices low. 

Maine’s electric utilities do not set the rates for electricity supply, they simply bill on behalf of the suppliers as a courtesy so that customers do not receive two separate bills. 

 For more information on standard offer service prices: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/electricity/standard_offer_rates/index.html.

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