New England electric rates increased 10 percent, Vermont rates down 1.6 percent

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New England electric rates increased 10 percent, Vermont rates down 1.6 percent

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 12:23pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine A new report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) finds in New England overall electric rates went up an average of 9.7 percent last year (January 2014-January 2015) to 17.34 cents per kilowatt hour, the greatest increase in the nation. During that same time, Vermont's overall rate went down 1.6 percent to 14.24 cents/kwh and Green Mountain Power's rates went down 2.46 percent. GMP is Vermont's largest electric company. Vermont was the only state in New England that saw rates fall in 2014.

Vermont has the second lowest rates in New England. Maine is at 14.14 cents/kwh, though its rates went up 2.4 percent. Vermont's neighboring states were all higher. New York's rates are 15.36 cents/kwh; Massachusetts' rates are 17.87 cents/kwh and New Hampshire's are 16.87 cents/kwh. The US average rate is 10.19 cents/kwh, up 0.6 percent. SEE TABLE BELOW FOR ALL STATES AND REGIONS.

GMP said in a statement that it has kept rates low for customers – as cost pressures increase – by finding efficiencies in operations and through the introduction of innovative products and services, among other things.

The EIA is part of the US Department of Energy and its role is to collect, analyze, and disseminate independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.

Most other regions of the country saw little change, with the Mid-Atlantic states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania showing the largest decline (12.81 cents/kwh, down 6.6 percent).

GMP said that increases in the future are possible but expects to continue to buck the regional trend of higher costs due to market instability. GMP said its strategy of long-term power supply commitments protects its customers from the volatility other utilities in New England are experiencing.

“As cost pressures increase and the cost of doing business goes up, in order to keep rates low for our customers, GMP is focused on finding efficiencies within our own business and mitigating potential increases by continuing to innovate. New products and services empower our customers to save money by using less energy all while increasing comfort,” said Mary Powell, Green Mountain Power President and Chief Executive Officer. “As I look around the country, I see more utilities following our lead and responding to the growing imperative to move away from dirty inefficient sources of energy to a clean, sustainable and cost effective energy future.”

An analysis of GMP’s rates shows that inflation has risen faster than electricity rates, and the real electric cost for all GMP customers is lower then it was in 2001, adjusted for inflation.

Bill Reichert is the Chief Operating Officer at Champlain Cable in Colchester, which employs 135 people. Reichert said the report was a validation of what they have experienced as a GMP customer.

“There are many costs that have Vermont at a non-competitive position. Having stable  electricity rates, and recently decreased, is very important to us,” said Reichert. “GMP brings a lot of value to Vermont’s economy by being so focused on keeping rates as low as possible. I really appreciate the work that they are doing to insulate us from the regional trend of higher costs.”

“For families, these savings translate to real money,” said Ginger Basa, a residential GMP customer from Montpelier.  “I appreciate GMP keeping their rates down. When raising four children, it really helps!”

GMP’s energy portfolio is 42% renewable. As Vermont’s Energy Company of the Future, GMP is offering new products and services including a first-in-the-nation eHome program that helps families improve their inefficient homes with the latest technology like heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, solar, weatherization, smart plugs and phone apps to control and track usage in real time from wherever they are.

“The data in the report demonstrate what we’ve known in Vermont,” said Powell. “It is possible to deliver low cost, highly reliable, clean energy for customers, while also empowering customers and leading the way with innovative energy solutions that lower costs, help Vermonters use less energy and increase comfort.”

Sources: Green Mountain Power. EIA 4.2.2015

Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and has a vision to be the best small company in America by partnering with Vermonters to improve lives and transform communities.  GMP is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. GMP is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. In 2014, Vote Solar named GMP a Solar Champion. More information at: Connect with GMP on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GreenMtnPower.