Beginning with bills rendered on or after May 1, the typical residential member can expect a total bill decrease of about two percent. That’s a much smaller reduction for the summer than we’ve seen in recent years. So why aren’t rates going down more this summer? It’s not so much to do with the cost of fuels like natural gas that are used to make electricity, but rather two other cost components.
The first component is called capacity costs. These are the costs we have to pay to owners of generating plants for being available to turn fuel into electricity every hour of the year, including those few hours when demand is highest. Capacity costs have increased substantially for New England ratepayers this year, which is having an impact on your bill.
The second component is called transmission costs. These are the charges we pay to the owners of high voltage transmission lines that get your power to our electric distribution system. Like capacity costs, transmission costs have increased significantly this year as well.
MORE ABOUT CAPACITY COSTS…
The Co-op’s capacity costs are based on our members’ total demand for power during the one hour each year that demand is at its absolute highest for all of New England. This regional peak usually occurs during early evening on a day in a summer heat wave when air conditioning loads drive up the demand for power. The possibility for the yearly peak demand only occurs in a few hours each summer, but its impact on the price of electricity is felt year-round through the capacity charge NHEC is required to pay to ISO-New England to be paid to the generators.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY CAN HELP
A lot of these cost drivers are beyond the ability of the Co-op and its 84,000 members to change. We do encourage you, though, to take advantage of our Energy Efficiency programs to help you save energy and money. You can find a complete listing of all our programs here.