NG Rate Update - Residential - New Hampshire Gas - Liberty
Liberty – New Hampshire Rate Request Information
On July 27, 2023, Liberty EnergyNorth 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 natural gas to customers. The requested increase reflects Liberty’s efforts to better serve customers through necessary and prudent investments in our infrastructure over the last three years and will support upgrades needed in the future.
Liberty EnergyNorth’s last rate update was filed in 2020. Since then, we have invested more than $179 million in infrastructure improvements through investments such as the replacement of cast iron and other bare metal steels and service lines, as well as leak-prone pipes. Liberty EnergyNorth also invested in upgrading critical software systems to improve operations and service to our customers.
If granted in its entirety, the request for new permanent distribution rates would take effect on October 1, 2023. The PUC will not render its final decision in the rate case until well after that date, but the new rates will be reconciled back to October 1. The temporary rates requested by Liberty EnergyNorth are intended to lessen the magnitude of the future, permanent increase in distribution rates. We are asking that the temporary rates take effect on October 1, 2023, and remain in effect until we receive a final decision on the requested permanent rate increase.
What does this mean?
For typical R-3 residential heating customers using 64 therms per month, the monthly bill impact of the requested temporary distribution rates would be an increase of approximately $8.66 per month. Proposed permanent distribution rates would result in an additional increase of approximately $4.78 per month. Bill impacts for commercial and industrial customers will vary. For information regarding the specific rates proposed for each class of service, click here.
In addition to its proposal to increase distribution rates, Liberty EnergyNorth is also asking the PUC to approve a plan for three step adjustments to recover the cost of non-growth-related investments made in 2023, 2024, and 2025. Under the plan, Liberty EnergyNorth would file documentation to support the investments made each year, which if approved, would cause rates to increase in 2024, 2025, and 2026. 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 EnergyNorth 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 2020. Since then, the Commission has approved limited rate requests to reflect specific capital investments made.
The 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 EnergyNorth 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 October 1. After temporary rates are established, the focus will be on Liberty EnergyNorth’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 October 1, 2023, would increase Liberty EnergyNorth’s average residential heating customer bill (using 64 therms per month) by approximately $8.66 per month, or 15.83% based on current rates. If approved by the NHPUC, the permanent rate adjustment will increase a typical residential customer’s bill by an additional $4.78 per month, an 8.73% increase from the temporary rates. Permanent rates, if approved, will be retroactive effective October 1, 2023.
Yes, each Liberty EnergyNorth 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. DG 23-067 to consider our rate request. Documents associated with the rate case are available from the PUC’s virtual file room here. The NHPUC’s procedural rules are available here. The Office of the Consumer Advocate maintains a guide to public participation in NHPUC proceedings on its website.
Every month, a customer bill consists of the following:
Natural gas supply 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 EnergyNorth contracts with suppliers to purchase natural gas and passes that cost directly on to customers. We do not benefit from the cost of natural gas supply.
In addition to the increased cost of energy, Liberty EnergyNorth has been allowed a series of distribution rate increases related to specific investments in the system between the last rate case and today.
In the last three years, we have invested more than $179 million in our infrastructure through investments such as the replacement of cast iron and other bare metal steels and service lines, as well as leak-prone pipes. Liberty EnergyNorth also invested in upgrading critical software systems to improve operations and service to our customers.
As we look ahead, we plan to continue investing in system improvements through a distribution integrity management program and other efforts to enhance safety and reliability and add value for customers. Liberty EnergyNorth has also proposed a new arrearage management program and a fee-free credit card program to improve the customer experience.
We offer flexible payment options for residential and business customers, allowing additional time to spread past-due balances and make payments more manageable. We also work with our customers to resolve past-due balances and avoid the potential of disconnection. Here you can learn more about various agencies that can help to provide financial assistance for a portion of the bill.
The state of New Hampshire has several programs available to customers, including a Homeowners Assistance Fund, Fuel Assistance, Discount Rate, 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, 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
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 natural gas 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 three years, Liberty EnergyNorth has:
- Invested more than $179 million in our infrastructure through investments such as the replacement of cast iron and other bare steel mains and service lines, as well as leak-prone pipes; and
- Upgraded critical software systems to improve operations and service to our customers.
Looking forward, customers can expect improvements such as:
- Further investments in system reliability through a distribution integrity management program and other efforts to enhance safety and reliability, as well as add value for our customers
- A new arrearage management program and a fee-free credit card payment option.
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 1-800-833-4200.