August 1, 2022, electricity rate hike
Harrisville adopted Community Power to take more control over electricity costs by combining household, business, and municipal accounts for greater purchase power to find the best rates (and add more renewables to the supply). That was May 2021. Today, we are still waiting for the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to settle administrative rules for Community Power. This is required before towns can launch their Community Power plans.
Once the PUC settles their rules, possibly end-July 2022, we will resubmit an amended Community Power plan as needed. From then, we estimate it will take six to eight months before the town can secure supply rates and launch our program. Optimistically, Spring 2023.
In the meantime, and as you may already know, the Eversource default rate will rise dramatically August 1. The PUC approved a six-month energy supply rate of 22.566 cents per kilowatt hour for residential customers (effective August – January). The total kilowatt-hour cost will add up to about 32 cents – up from 19 cents: 23 cents for electricity supply plus about 9 cents to deliver it. On top of a $14 customer charge.
This will be the highest electricity rate behind Hawaii. Wow. It’s going to be a very difficult winter.
There is much to know about what led up to this situation, which in large measure is driven by the region’s dependency on methane (natural gas) and lack of diversification in energy supply. (Here’s a brief article by Bob Audette, writing for the Brattleboro Reformer, Granite State electricity rates set to skyrocket.)
Be that as it may, you have options to cope with this increase until we can launch Community Power.
You have options
Reduce electricity consumption. This approach will serve you well no matter what contract is in place for energy supply, including Community Power. Low-to-more-expensive on the checklist include:
- Switch to LED light bulbs
- Find and manage household energy drips (start in the home office or entertainment center)
- As you replace old appliances look for Energy-Star rated appliances (and NH Saves rebates)
- Insulate … the attic, the basement, the hot water pipes
- Consider an energy audit to identify energy that you may be paying for but not using
Generate your own electricity. There are a lot of possibilities and configurations worth scoping and planning to install now or to add to the list of household projects for the future.
Check out competitive suppliers. You can select another provider for electricity supply. (Eversource maintains electricity delivery.) They offer different supply rates and percentage of renewable mix They also offer different contract terms. Evaluating these offers requires being careful not to fall into a scam or fall for deceptive marking — especially now with so mych financial stress and uncertainty about the future.
As you look over providers, bear in mind that while we know what Eversource will charge for electricity supply August 1 to end-January 2023, we don’t know what that rate will be in the next six-month cycle (February – July 2023). We do know future rates could be the same, higher, or lower. Look out for fees. A plan that does not charge a cancellation fee would be ideal. Here’s more —
Review income based assistance. If you are concerned about what this rate increase will do to your monthly bill, participate as fully as possible in the Home Energy Assistance (HEA) program that is part of NHSaves. Southwestern Community Services is a local point of contact for these energy assistance programs (click here to review income criteria used to determine program eligibility):
Know about Eversource bill payment plans. Finally, another option is to scope the bill payment plans that Eversource offers, one of which will smooth monthly pay amounts into equal amounts throughout the year. Again, be sure to know the payment-plan rules. Click here to view payment plans.