What's changing in New Hampshire's electric industry?
Electric Choice is being introduced into New Hampshire's electric industry, which means that you can choose the company from which you buy your electric energy. The Co-op, however, will continue to distribute the electric energy over its existing network of poles and wires.
How is this change happening?
Until now, all parts of your electric service have been provided by one company-your local electric utility, the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative. The Co-op has purchased power on your behalf and delivered it to your home. Under deregulation of the electricity industry, the generation and distribution components of the industry are being separated. Now, you can choose the energy supplier that makes the power, or buys the power on your behalf.
Will I still be a Co-op member?
Yes. Only the electric energy portion of your bill is affected by your choice of energy supplier. The actual delivery of electricity to your home will still be provided by the Co-op regardless of who you buy your electricity from.
Why is this happening?
New Hampshire's high electric rates are the primary reason that the State has chosen to open the market to Electric Choice.
How will I benefit?
Allowing you to choose your own energy supplier creates competition among energy suppliers, which should help drive down electric energy prices. Competition should also lead to the development of new products and services as companies compete for your business. Also, Electric Choice gives you the power to make choices based on personal concerns, such as the environment.
Can I still buy power from the Co-op?
Yes. The Co-op will provide competitively priced electric energy for all members who do not choose a competitive supplier, cannot purchase power from a competitive supplier for any reason or who are in the process of switching suppliers. This is called "Co-op Power" on your bill.
Will I still receive reliable service?
Yes. The Co-op will continue to build, operate and maintain the system of poles and wires that delivers of electricity to your home.
How do I find out what energy suppliers are available to me?
A list of registered energy suppliers is available on the PUC website at http://www.puc.state.nh.us/, or you can call the PUC Answer Center at 1-800-528-2070. The Co-op also provides this information on its website under Competitive Energy Suppliers or by calling the Co-op at 1-800-698-2007 and pressing #8. However, neither the PUC nor the Co-op is allowed to recommend an energy supplier to you.
How do I switch energy suppliers?
An energy supplier must receive your written, electronic or verbal authorization. Verbal authorization must be verified by an independent third party (for example, an independent telemarketing company) to ensure that it's correct. You cannot switch by calling the Co-op. It takes 5 days for a switch to occur, then the switch is effective at the Co-op's next regular scheduled meter read date.
Is there a fee to switch energy suppliers?
The Co-op does not charge for switching to another supplier or returning to "Co-op Power." However, there may be a fee levied by the competitive energy supplier. Before selecting a new energy supplier, ask if there is a start-up fee and check with to find out if there is cost to terminate your contract.
Can I end my contract with my energy supplier if I'm not satisfied?
Yes. But there may be fees or penalties involved. If you are unhappy with the service provided or the price charged by your current energy supplier, read your contract to find out what options are available to you. Read an energy supplier's contract thoroughly before signing it, to make sure you agree with all the terms.
When I change my energy supplier, do I have to notify my electric distribution company?
No. You cannot switch by contacting the Co-op. You must contact the energy supplier, who is required to notify the Co-op.
How often can I switch suppliers?
The Co-op will accept only one switch per meter read cycle, which is typically a 30-day period.
Will my electricity be shut off if I do not want to make a choice?
No. If you do not select an energy supplier, you will still receive "Co-op Power" provided by the New Hampshire Electric Co-op.
Can an energy supplier shut off my electricity?
No. An energy supplier can stop providing you with electric energy, but your electricity will not be turned off. Instead, you will receive "Co-op Power" from the Co-op until you have chosen another energy supplier. However, your electricity could be shut off if you do not pay your Co-op bills.
Who do I call if the power goes out?
Call the Co-op. Regardless of which energy supplier you choose, the Co-op will continue to maintain and repair the poles and wires that bring electricity to your home and restore your power during outages.
Will I save money by making a choice?
No one knows for sure. A competitive market should lead to lower energy prices. One of the best ways to reduce your electric bill is to conserve energy. For more information on energy conservation, call the Governor's Office of Energy and Community Services at (603) 271-2611 or find out about the Co-op's Energy Saving Programs.
Can I get a lower rate by buying with a group?
Maybe. Buying groups are a collection of customers who buy electric energy together, providing economies of scale. Some examples of buying groups may include civic organizations, cooperatives, cities and towns, and nonprofit organizations, such as environmental or other special interest groups.
Will my electric bill change?
Yes. Your bill now shows a breakdown of electricity prices, including "Co-op Power," "Distribution Services" and the "Other Charges." See How to Read Your Bill.
We will bill you for your energy supplier if they ask us to. Otherwise, you'll get two bills, one from the Co-op and one from the energy supplier. This will be decided by the energy supplier. If this is important to you, be sure to ask this question when selecting a new energy supplier.
I receive fuel assistance. Will I still qualify?
Yes. The changes that have taken place do not affect the fuel assistance program. For more information on fuel assistance, contact your local Community Action Agency or the PUC Answer Center at 1-800-528-2070, or to learn about the Co-op's programs for income-qualified members, contact Co-op Member Solutions at 1-800-698-2007.
If you have a question about your choice of an energy supplier or the changes to the electric industry, go to the PUC website at http://www.puc.state.nh.us/ or call the PUC Answer Center at 1-800-528-2070. The PUC will still be responsible for ensuring consumer protection and safety and reliability of service. Contact them if you have a problem or concern that you cannot resolve with your energy supplier or electric distribution company.