Energy

Regulators recommend $22M cut to GMP rate increase

Jim Porter
Jim Porter is director of public advocacy at the Department of Public Service. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger

State regulators have recommended a cap on electricity rate increases proposed by Vermont’s largest power company.

Green Mountain Power has asked for a 4.98 percent increase in 2018. The Vermont Public Service Department is suggesting that the utility reduce the rate increase to 1.68 percent, a $21.7 million reduction.

The recommendation has been filed with the Public Utilities Commission, a quasi-judicial body that sets utility rates.

Jim Porter, the director for public advocacy for the department, said in a statement that the recommendations “would still allow GMP to continue to deliver safe and reliable services to its customers, maintain affordability and advance State energy goals.”

“The Department examined GMP’s power supply strategy to ensure that rates stay stable and this helps residential consumers and small business better plan for their energy spending,” Porter said.

The department hired three outside firms to review the GMP rate request. The analysis included review of regulatory accounting, the cost of capital and capital spending.

Brian Winn, the director of finance and economics for the department, said the recommendations include limiting GMP’s recovery of capital expenditures in rates and affording enough discretion for “the company’s management to determine which capital projects are necessary within its overall capital spending limit.”

Kristin Carlson, the spokeswoman for Green Mountain Power, said the utility has the second lowest rates in New England and the proposed rate increase is “a look ahead at what we believe is necessary to meet our promise to our customers to maintain our system and invest in the future.”

“Our customers know and expect us to always work hard to deliver the most cost effective, reliable power possible, while still making critical investments in clean energy and innovation to help them use less energy and reduce costs further,” Carlson said in a statement. “This work is essential to meet our shared energy goals. Today’s filing is the next step in the regulatory process and we look forward to working with regulators and stakeholders as the process moves forward.”

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  • Gary Murdock

    “Kristin Carlson, the spokeswoman for Green Mountain Power, said the utility has the second lowest rates in New England”
    Big deal…this means nothing. I also doubt that this is true if all the other charges Vermont tacks onto the bill are accounted for…like the fleecing we get with the Efficiency Vermont tax.

  • Gary Dickinson

    If everybody did as you did, everybody’s rates would go up so GMP won’t lose money.

    • Willem Post

      Gary,

      That is exactly correct.

      Vermont would be in the poorhouse if everyone, instead of just 5% of rate payers, got onto the bandwagon, because GMP rates would go through the roof.

      I pointed this out about 8 years ago but was poo-poohed by legislators at that time.

      It is bad enough for DPS to approve large multi-MW projects that pay multi-millionaires-with tax-shelters 24 – 30 c/kWh for ALL of their solar output.

      Many of those millionaires are out-of-state.

      They deface Vermont’s meadows and open spaces with large, multi-MW solar arrays.

      They sell the green rights to out of state entities so THOSE ENTITIES can buy their way to be clean and wear the green halo.

      Vermont cannot count that solar energy towards its RE goals, per FERC rules.

      It is a from energy of colonialism, encouraged with Vermont government subsidies.

  • Willem Post

    Robert,
    Your electric bill is small because you get up to 19 c/kWh for your surplus solar energy.

    That reduces your Efficiency Vermont and grid charges and various other fees and taxes. Other ratepayers have to make up for that.

    About 95% of all Vermont households are not participating in PV solar systems because they cannot afford it or have other priorities, like putting a child through college, paying for a car/house, or live in a house unsuitable for solar.

    GMP is wasting a lot of money subsidizing Tesla Powerwall 2.0 batteries. Installing 2000 of them would costs at least $15 million. A very expensive way to reduce GMP forward demand and forward transmissions charges imposed by ISO-NE.
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/pv-solar-sonnen-combo-low-income-housing-demonstration-project

  • Willem Post

    Robert,

    I am an energy systems analyst with about 40 years of education, training and experience.

    I wrote well over 120 articles on energy issues. Please do not lecture me.

    I could make some comments about your inadequate responses, but politeness and a lack of space prevents me from doing so.

    • Robert Lehmert

      I’m am certain you are as proud of your credentials as I am of mine (including my Fulbright) but that does not make you correct. I am not always right, but I am honest enough to acknowledge obvious errors and misstatements.

  • Robert Lehmert

    Mr. Post’s statement that “GMP buys your surplus electricity at about 19 c/kWh” is not accurate. It is not possible for me to sell electricity to GMP and receive a cash payment.

    I receive a “solar adder” credit on my bill — which can only offset GMP’s charges. The solar adder is 5.3 cents per kWh higher than GMP charges me. The 19 cents Mr. Post cites fails to include GMP’s charges.

    If I produce more electricity than I can consume, while it is possible (with a fair amount of work) to donate the excess credit — I can’t sell it.

    • Willem Post

      Robert,
      See my above comment with sample calculations.

  • Willem Post

    Robert,

    Here are some numbers slightly out of date, but they serve the purpose:

    GMP has an average monthly service charge for residential customers of about $11.25 per month. The utility sells electricity to residential customers for about 14 c/kWh, excluding taxes, fees and surcharges.

    GMP offers a generous feed-in tariff equal to about 6 cents more than the going retail rate. In other words, even though it costs only 14 c/kWh to buy electricity, GMP will pay you about 19 cents for every kWh produced by your PV solar system.

    Say you use 500 kWh during the month of April. You produced only 410 kWh that month. Here’s what your bill might look like: 500 x 0.14 = $70 for the electricity you used, plus a service charge of $11.25, for a total of $81.25.

    However, you get a credit of 410 x 0.19 = $77.90 for your energy, for a monthly bill of 81.25 – 77.90 = $3.35!!!!

    Obviously, any taxes, surcharges (including there EV surcharge) and fees would be minimal on such a small bill.

    http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/living-without-electricity-bills#ixzz4pvpJdwRI

  • David Dempsey

    Willem, exactly right. That money actually ended up going to the shareholders of CVPS because Gaz-Metro said they would reduce the buying price by the $21 million if they had to pay the ratepayers after they purchased CVPS. So CVPS shareholders got the full amount of the sale by not paying the ratepayers back. That’s a pretty sleazy way to screw ratepayers and letting the shareholders steal that money.

    • waltermoses38

      All with the approval of former governor Shumlin.