CMP, Versant customers will see supply rates increase next year
BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Expect your electric bills to go up at the start of the new year.
Wednesday, the Maine Public Utilities Commission announced a new rate increase for CMP customers.
It comes one day after Versant Power supply rates will go up too.
“For both Versant and CMP, these are the lowest prices available,” said Phil Bartlett, Maine Public Utilities Commission chairman.
CMP customers will see an 83.2% increase in the supply rate on their electric bills starting Jan. 1.
Tuesday, the PUC cleared the way for Versant customers to see an 88.6% increase.
These prices were decided from a bidding process by the commission.
“What you’re getting is the best of the available options,” said Bartlett.
The average customer in Maine will see their electric bill rise about $30 a month.
Bartlett says the reason the prices are sky rocketing is because of the sharp increase in natural gas, which fuels the electricity in many of the homes in Maine.
“It’s the dominant fuel and it really drives the price,” said Bartlett.
“And this mirrors the increases we’ve all seen at the gas pump when we buy gasoline. And also fuel oil, natural gas, and propane when we purchase those fuels to heat our homes,” said Patrick Scully, Maine Public Utilities commissioner.
State regulators say solution to lowering electric bills is more investments into renewable energy like wind and solar.
“But that’s a longer term solution. What happens next year, the year after, is hard to say. But I do think we will continue to be in a volatile ride with up and down prices,” said Bartlett.
For this winter, lowering your electric bill might come down to you.
“I think in every household you can find a little bit of energy that you could choose not to use and lower your bill that way,” said Linda Ball, CMP VP of Customer Service.
CMP says they have a lot of work ahead of them helping customers understand their new electric bill and helping them through financial assistance programs.
They’re also employing a new weekly energy use alert system that will give customers a call, text or email.
“So if you’re using a lot more or using a lot less, you can investigate why in a weekly time frame instead of waiting until the end of a month,” said Ball.
“And for a lot of Maine families whether you’re re struggling to make ends meet or just don’t have a lot of disposable income, or you’re a senior on a fixed retirement income, this is a huge increase. $20 to $30 a month is a lot,” said Bartlett.
For folks who may struggle to pay their new electricity bills, you can go to the Maine Public Utility Commission’s website for a number of low income assistance programs.
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