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December 11, 2018

CMP standard-offer customers electric bills will rise in 2019

At a glance: Standard offer service

Electricity customers in Maine receive standard offer service if they have not bought supply from another retail supplier or through an aggregator. Maine law requires the Public Utilities Commission to ensure that standard offer service for electricity supply is available to all customers in Maine. The commission arranges for standard offer service through periodic competitive bid processes.

For more information on standard offer service prices go online here.

Monthly electric bills for Central Maine Power standard-offer customers, both residential and small-business, will increase an average of 6.7% in 2019 after the Maine Public Utilities Commission set new prices.

Medium and large-business customers may see a slightly greater hike, depending on market prices, the commission announced in a news release Monday.

The new standard offer supply price for CMP residential and small-business customers who receive the service is 9.0 cents/kWh, which is a 13.7% increase compared to 2018.

Looking at the total residential bill combining supply and delivery service, an average residential customer could expect to see an increase of about 6.7% in their monthly bill, the release said.

The new prices apply only to standard offer supply service, about 49% of the sales in CMP's service area. The prices do not apply to customers who buy their own electricity in the market. CMP, a division of Avangrid, has about 600,000 electricity customers in central and southern Maine.

The new prices will differ by month for CMP medium business customers, equating to about 8.95 cents/kWh on average over the year, varying from 6.6 cents/kWh in September to 14.2 cents/kWh in February. The medium class prices are about 7.8% higher than in 2018.

Prices for large business customers will be indexed to market prices and set in advance of each month, as was done last year for large business standard offer service.

Emera Maine's standard offer rates

The commission set similar rates for Emera Maine standard-offer customers last week about 60% of the residences and small businesses the company services. Emera has about 158,000 electricity customers in northern and Downeast Maine.

"The standard offer prices set this week reflect the best bids received from a competitive auction process," said Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy. "As the commission stated last week [when Emera's prices were set], these price increases are driven by increases in wholesale electricity market prices in New England due primarily to constraints on the availability of natural gas in the region.

"As noted in a recent press release from the ISO-New England, the region's natural gas delivery infrastructure has expanded only incrementally, while reliance on natural gas as the predominant fuel for both power generation and heating continues to grow. The region has yet to address New England's natural gas infrastructure needs."

The names of the suppliers selected will be released in two weeks, allowing time for power supply arrangements to be finalized, the release said.

Emera rates that were set last week equated to 8.37 cents/kilowatt hour, which is a 15.8% increase compared to the supply price during 2018, which would result in a total residential bill combining supply and delivery service averaging a 6.5% monthly increase.

Medium business customers prices will equate to about 9.03 cents/kWh on an annual average basis, varying from 6.7 cents/kWh in June 2019 to 14.5 cents/kWh in February 2019.

The medium class prices are about 11.4% higher than prices during the same 12 month period in 2018. Large businesses will be indexed according to market rates and set in advance, just as they are with the CMP offer.

Read more

Emera Maine standard-offer customers face price hikes in 2019

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