The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, in a June 7 order, suspended Eversource Energy’s (NYSE:ES) proposed tariff for a permanent rate increase pending further investigation, and scheduled a prehearing conference on the matter for June 21 in Concord, N.H.
As noted in the order, Public Service Company of New Hampshire d/b/a Eversource in late May filed proposed new tariff pages seeking a $69.9m increase in its revenue requirement. The commission said that Eversource on April 26 had requested authority to recover about $33m of that amount through temporary rates effective July 1. If the permanent rate request is approved, that would represent a 20% increase in revenue from current distribution rates. Eversource requested temporary and permanent rates for effect on July 1, the commission added.
Under Eversource’s proposed permanent tariff, the percentage increase to customer bills would vary by rate class due to differences between and among rate class structures. The commission added that the percent increase would also vary within each class due to differing customer consumption characteristics. With the exception of outdoor lighting rates, which Eversource proposed to decrease, customers would experience total bill increases between 1.9% and 7.4%, the commission said.
Monthly bills for a residential customer taking energy service from Eversource using 600 kWh would increase by 7.4% on a total bill basis, the commission said, adding that the monthly customer service charge for residential customers would increase from the current charge of $12.69 to $13.89, and the distribution charge would increase from 4.14 cents per kWh, to 5.44 cents per kWh.
The total monthly bill for General Delivery Service (Rate G) customers would increase on average by 4.3%, the commission said, noting that the Rate G monthly customer charge would increase from $14.89 to $18 for single-phase service, and from $29.76 to $36 for three-phase service. The commission said that the distribution charge for customer load in excess of 5 kW would increase from $8.72 to $10.50 per kW. Rate G distribution charges per kilowatt hour would increase from 6.99 cents to 7.65 cents per kWh for the first 500 kWh; from 1.47 cents to 1.89 cents per kWh for the next 500 kWh; and from 0.612 cents to 0.670 cents per kWh for additional usage.
According to Eversource, the company has made significant capital investments in the distribution system since the approval of the company’s last distribution rate adjustment in 2010, the commission said. The company has also experienced significant changes to distribution operating revenue requirements, the commission said, adding that using calendar year 2018 as a test year, the company made pro forma adjustments to demonstrate the increased costs in property taxes, employee-related costs, and other operations that are contributing to a revenue deficiency.
The company proposes several policy changes, including a proposal to recover the cost of a new, proposed “Fee Free” program through rate base, the commission said, adding that under that program, Eversource would contract with a vendor who offers bill payment by credit card with no additional fees. The cost of the Fee Free program would be included in the company’s revenue requirement, the commission said.
Among other things, the commission said that any party seeking to intervene in the proceeding is to submit to the commission a petition to intervene with copies sent to Eversource and the Office of the Consumer Advocate by June 18.