Green Mountain Power seeks rate increase

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(Host) Vermont’s second largest electric utility wants to raise its rates by almost 12 percent.

Green Mountain Power says it needs more money from customers because of higher power costs.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Over the last five years, Green Mountain Power has hiked its rates by about 3 percent.

That trend of relatively low rate increases may soon be reversed. The company says power costs are going up, so its rates will also have to rise.

Dorothy Schnure is a GMP spokeswoman. She says the company has been able to hedge against high power costs through a contract with Morgan Stanley, the financial services company.

(Schnure) The situation now is that our contract with Morgan Stanley, which is 15 percent of our power portfolio ends at the end of this year. So we’re going to have to replace that with power from the more expensive power market now. So actually about nine-tenths of what we’re requesting are do to increases in power supply costs, with the remaining one-tenth due to transmission costs .

(Dillon) G-M-P has about 90-thousand residential
customers. The rate hike of just under 12 percent would go into effect next January. If the increase is approved, the average customer would see about a $10 increase each month.

Schnure says GMP is not alone in feeling the pressure from high power costs.

(Schnure) Our increases are actually on the low end in what we’re seeing across the region and across the country. There are increases as high as 72 percent in Maryland. Rising wholesale power costs are a factor that’s affecting utilities across the country.

(Dillon) The region’s wholesale electricity market is largely determined by the price of natural gas. Wholesale prices for that fuel have more than doubled in the last few years.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon.

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