November 16, 2022
By Ramona du Houx
Hallowell, Maine –The Maine Public Utilities Commission accepted bids and set new Standard Offer electricity supply rates for residential and business customers of Central Maine Power Company (CMP) and Versant Power-Maine Public District (MPD).
For residential and small non-residential customers of CMP, the Standard Offer price will be 17.63 cents per kWh effective January 1, 2023. The Standard Offer electricity supply amount accounts for about 60 percent of the total customer bill, therefore the total bill increase will be about 26 percent for an average customer using 550 kWh/month, or an increase of $31.98, from about $122.59 to about $154.58. The standard offer price set last year was 11.8 cents per kwh, so the 17.6 cents per kwh equates to a 49 percent increase for electricity supply.
“The standard offer prices accepted by the PUC are the direct result of Maine’s over reliance on fossil fuels, particularly natural gas, and the unprecedented volatility in global energy markets since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, all of which are now costing Maine people and businesses far too much to fill their tanks and power their homes as we head into the winter months,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I have directed my Administration to examine every solution possible to this crisis, and we will be preparing a proposal for the Legislature’s consideration next month to help Maine people with the significant hardship caused by high energy prices this winter. We must ensure that Maine people have support and security to heat their homes and keep themselves and their families safe.”
For residential and small non-residential customers of Versant-MPD, the Standard Offer price will be 14.88 cents per kWh effective January 1, 2023. The Standard Offer electricity supply amount accounts for about 60 percent of the total customer bill, therefore the total bill increase will be about 18.4 percent for an average customer using 500 kWh/month, or an increase of $18.96, from about $103.03 to about $121.99. The standard offer price set last year was 11.08 cents per kwh, so the 14.88 cents per kwh equates to a 34% increase for electricity supply.
“We recognize that this is a significant increase that comes at a time when consumers are already faced with rising prices due to inflation. Like the Versant prices approved yesterday, natural gas markets are driving these price increases, however the markets have come down from a few months ago, resulting in a better outcome than we originally anticipated,” said Chairman Philip L. Bartlett.
The new Standard Offer supply rates were set though a competitive bid process conducted by the Commission, as required by Maine law. Multiple bidders submitted sealed proposals in the Commission’s annual competitive process for setting Standard Offer electricity supply prices. The increases reflect current regional electric power market conditions which are strongly influenced by natural gas, as well as costs to ensure regional electricity supply reliability.
These increases apply to customers who do not purchase electricity from a competitive supplier of their choosing and instead receive Standard Offer Supply by default.
“We do want to make sure that consumers know there are many programs available to them to assist with utility bills and energy conservation and we encourage them to seek assistance, if needed,” said Bartlett. “The Commission has a full list of programs available on the Commission website.”