Electricity bills for Central Maine Power customers to increase as PUC approves supply price hike
In competitive solicitations concluded Dec. 10, the Maine Public Utilities Commission accepted bids and set new prices for standard offer electricity supply for customers of Central Maine Power (CMP) who receive standard offer supply service. The new prices are effective for a 12-month term beginning January 1 and signal a 6.7 percent bill increase, according to a Dec. 10 news release from the PUC.
For CMP residential and small business customers who receive standard offer supply service, the accepted bids result in a new standard offer supply price of 9.0 cents/kWh, which is a 13.7 percent increase compared to the supply price in 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 percent in their monthly bill,” the PUC said.
For CMP medium business customers, the new prices differ by month, 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. These medium class prices are about 7.8 percent higher than prices last year.
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.
These new prices apply only to standard offer supply service, which reflects about 49 percent of the sales in CMP’s service area. The prices do not apply to customers that purchase their own electricity supply in the market.
"The standard offer prices set this week reflect the best bids received from a competitive auction process," according to Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy, in the release. "As the Commission stated last week, 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.
Background: Electricity customers in Maine receive standard offer service if they have not purchased supply from another retail supplier or through an aggregator. Currently, standard offer service represents about 49 percent of the supply used by CMP customers. Maine law requires the 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: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/electricity/standard_offer_rates/index.html