Rate Update - Residential - New Hampshire Electric - Liberty
New Hampshire Electric Rate Request to Support System Improvements and Added Tools for Customers
On May 5, 2023, Liberty submitted a rate filing with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC) requesting an increase to base distribution rates, which recover the cost of the distribution system used to deliver electricity to customers. The requested increase reflects Liberty’s efforts to better serve customers through necessary and prudent investments in our infrastructure over the last four years and will support upgrades needed in the future.
Liberty’s last rate update was filed in 2019. Since then, Liberty has invested more than $115 million in infrastructure improvements, system-hardening projects, and critical software systems upgrades.
To keep rates affordable for customers, Liberty has proposed to phase in new rates over the next three years. If approved by regulators, a temporary rate adjustment would take effect July 1, 2023 and would cost Liberty’s average residential customer (650 kWh per month) approximately $5.70 per month. This is a 2.6 percent increase per month based on current rates for customers taking Default Energy Service. If approved by regulators, the permanent rate adjustment will increase a typical residential customer’s bill by $13.76 per month or 6.2 percent from rates in effect today for customers taking Default Energy Service. Permanent rates, if approved, will be retroactive effective July 1, 2023.
Both requests require Commission review and approval, and the approved increases may be different from what has been requested. Additional information about Liberty’s requested delivery rate increases is available below and on the NHPUC’s website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Liberty is filing a rate request with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC or Commission) to support necessary and prudent improvements to our system that will enhance safety and reliability of service, add value for our customers, and support a high-quality workforce.
The last full rate request was filed in 2019. Since 2019, the Commission has approved limited rate requests to reflect specific capital investments made.
The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC) is ultimately responsible for establishing and approving the rates customers pay. Liberty provides the NHPUC with full transparency into the company’s financials, which indicate the overall costs to maintain a safe and reliable system in the coming years.
Liberty has requested a set of temporary rates that allow the Company to earn its allowed rate of return as approved in the last distribution rate case based on costs incurred in 2022. Temporary rates will approve a portion of Liberty’s overall rate request and are expected to begin this summer. After temporary rates are established, the focus will be on Liberty’s ultimate request to set new rates into the future. The overall process is expected to take 12 months.
If approved by the NHPUC, the temporary rate adjustment planned to take effect July 1, 2023, would increase Liberty’s average residential customer (650 kWh per month) bill by approximately $5.70 per month, or 2.6 percent based on current rates for customers taking Default Energy Service. If approved by the NHPUC, the permanent rate adjustment will increase a typical residential customer’s bill by $13.76 per month or 6.2 percent from rates in effect today for customers taking Default Energy Service. Permanent rates, if approved, will be retroactive effective July 1, 2023.
Yes, each Liberty customer has the right to participate in the rate case we have filed with the NHPUC. You may file written comments with the NHPUC, and, in some circumstances, you may have the right to participate as a full party to the rate case. The Commission has opened Docket No. DE 23-039 to consider our rate request. Documents associated with the rate case are available from the PUC’s virtual file room located here. The NHPUC’s procedural rules can be viewed here. The Office of the Consumer Advocate maintains a guide to public participation in NHPUC proceedings on its website.
Customers are also invited to attend the pubic hearings being held. For a list of dates, times, and locations for upcoming public hearings, please click here.
Every month, a customer bill consists of the following:
Energy service costs have risen dramatically in recent years, largely due to extreme weather events, the war in Ukraine, supply and demand issues, and overall economic uncertainty. Liberty buys energy off the open market and passes that cost directly on to customers. We do not benefit from the increased cost of energy. In addition, Liberty has been allowed a series of rate increases related to specific investments in the system between the last rate case and today.
In the last four years, we made significant investments in replacing aging infrastructure across our service area, including a new substation in Salem, system hardening projects like replacing bare wire with tree-resistant wire, and upgrading critical software systems.
As we look ahead to the next three years, we plan to continue investing in system hardening projects and reliability-focused investments and will invest in projects designed to modernize our system, like advanced metering infrastructure.
We have proposed expanding our battery storage program to more customers, including a Bring Your Own Device (“BYOD”) option and have included new Time of Use (“TOU”) rate offerings for residential and small commercial customers that can provide savings to customers based on when customers use energy. Additionally, we have proposed a new arrearage management program and a fee-free credit card payment option to improve the customer payment experience.
Liberty offers flexible payment options for residential and business customers, allowing additional time to spread past-due balances and make payments more manageable. Liberty works with its customers to resolve past-due balances and avoid the potential of disconnection.
The state of New Hampshire has several programs available to customers, including a Homeowners Assistance Fund, a State Supplemental Electric Benefit Program, an Electrical Assistance Program, Fuel Assistance, and a Neighbor Helping Neighbor Program. Click here for more information.
Part of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp., Liberty is committed to providing safe and reliable natural gas, water, and electricity distribution services to over one million customer connections. Liberty’s utility operations are primarily located in the United States and Canada and have expanded to Chile and Bermuda. With a customer-centric approach to management, Liberty provides a superior customer experience through local management of walk-in centers, conservation and energy efficiency initiatives, and programs for businesses and residential customers. We measure our performance in terms of service reliability, customer satisfaction, and an unwavering dedication to public and workplace safety. Liberty’s North American distribution operations include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma and Texas in the United States, and New Brunswick, Canada. In New Hampshire, Liberty provides services to approximately 46,000 electric utility customer connections and more than 99,000 natural gas utility customer connections.
Key Investments Included in the Rate Request
Keeping your service safe, reliable, and cost-effective is at the forefront of our decision-making. We recognize the importance electricity plays in your daily life and the important role we play in our community. Our rate request reflects a balance of these priorities, along with a commitment to adding valuable services and programs for our customers. While we do all we can to control costs for our customers, it is imperative that we make regular and prudent investments in our infrastructure and system.
In the past four years, Liberty has:
- Invested more than $115 million in our infrastructure through a new substation in Salem and system hardening projects like replacing bare wire with tree-resistant wire; and
- Upgraded critical software systems to improve operations and service to our customers.
Looking forward, customers can expect improvements such as:
- Further infrastructure investments in system-hardening projects and reliability-focused investments;
- Projects designed to modernize our system, like advanced metering infrastructure;
- Choice for customers through a proposed expansion of our battery pilot programs, and new Time of Use rates that provide savings to customers based on when they use energy; and
- Value-added programs for customers such as a new arrearage management program and a fee-free credit card payment option.
Liberty has proposed a revenue increase of $15.5 million for the first year of a multi-year rate plan. For residential customers using 650 kilowatt hours, per month, the monthly bill impact would be approximately $13.76 or 6.2% as compared to the rates in effect today. Bill impacts for commercial and industrial customers will vary. For a detailed look, click here.
Still Have Questions?
Should you have any additional questions about this rate request or any other matter concerning your electric service, please contact us at 1-800-375-7413.