Effective with bills rendered on or after November 1, 2017, New Hampshire Electric Co-op’s (NHEC) rates will be adjusted for the winter season to reflect changes in the cost of power at the wholesale level. The rate changes will result in an overall bill increase of 8%, or $8.15 per month, for a typical residential member using 500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per month.
The rate increase is the result of increases in two portions of members’ bills – Co-op Power (the actual electricity used) and the Regional Access Charge (the cost to access the regional transmission grid in order to get power to the NHEC distribution system). For most residential members, the Co-op Power rate is increasing from 7.5 cents per kWh to 9.1 cents per kWh. For most residential members the Regional Access Charge (RAC) is increasing during this winter period from 2.7 cents per kWh to 2.8 cents per kWh.
The increased costs to the Co-op Power rate are primarily due to the expected increase in winter fuel costs used to produce the energy that NHEC purchases for use by its members. Also, driving the winter rate change are increased costs to guarantee that enough New England power plants are available to produce energy, as well as increased costs associated with New Hampshire renewable energy policy.
During winter months one of the primary fuels used to power New England electric plants (natural gas) is also used to heat homes, increasing the price for that fuel and the electricity that is produced from it. NHEC expects natural gas costs to fall during the summer period rate adjustment. The increase in the Regional Access Charge is primarily due to an increase in the costs to deliver energy to the NHEC distribution system.