CONCORD – The Public Utilities Commission approved a rate hike Friday for Unitil customers that will take effect Dec. 1 and last until July 31.
The hearing Friday was on Unitil’s required supply rate filing, the same sort of required, scheduled filing that was reported on by other utilities this summer. Unitil’s filed supply rate was for 25.9 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) in New Hampshire.
“Our rate over the summer (beginning June 1) was set at 10.1 cents per kilowatt hour, far lower than the filings that were reported over the summer. As a result, for a customer using 600 kWh per month, this would be an increase of $94.85 per month or 76.9 percent higher than current bills,” said Unitil spokesman Alec O’Meara.
He said because of Unitil’s filing schedule, their rates are more seasonal in nature than others, meaning they historically move quite a bit between the summer and wintertime. This makes a winter-to-winter comparison important as well, he said, adding compared to last winter, this filing would create an increase of about $50 a month or 30 percent.
The increase in the supply rate is caused by the following: “New England is facing an energy crunch this coming season because there isn’t enough natural gas pipeline capacity coming to our region. This means we are competing abroad with Europe for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) shipments that supplement our own supply, and those prices have increased dramatically following the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” O’Meara said.
Unitil in New Hampshire serves 75,000 customers split between two regions: the NH seacoast stretching from Hampton to Atkinson/Plaistow, and Concord/Bow and surrounding communities.
“Our filed rate is higher than others in New Hampshire because it includes more winter months in a similar period. The other rates conclude on Jan. 31. Our rate includes February, March, and so on,” O’Meara said.