EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 24, 2013

Some 90K customers leave PSNH


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — CONCORD — The latest statistics filed with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission show that more than 90,000 residential electricity customers have left Public Service Co. of New Hampshire for a competitive service provider, continuing a trend that reflects the utility’s above-market costs and consumers’ opportunity to make more affordable and cleaner choices for electricity, according to EmpowerNH, a coalition of New Hampshire energy companies, businesses, trade groups, and environmental organizations.

More than 98 percent of the electricity consumed by the utility’s large commercial and industrial customers is purchased competitively, and more than half of all the electricity consumed in PSNH’s distribution service territory is supplied by a competitive retail provider.

The trend of customers choosing to purchase more economically and environmentally friendly competitive electricity supply has benefited even customers who have not switched yet, according to EmpowerNH, as PSNH recently reduced its rates in the face of continuing competitive pressures. Nevertheless, the utility’s electricity rates are on average still as much as 10 to 20 percent more costly than product offerings from competitive suppliers, Empower said.

“Consumers who elect to shop and purchase their electricity from a competitive alternative to PSNH will not only have the opportunity to save money, but they can obtain their electricity from cleaner sources,” said Jonathan Peress, vice president and director, Clean Energy and Climate Change at Conservation Law Foundation and an EmpowerNH founding member. “Shopping for competitively priced electricity is a win-win for New Hampshire’s economy and the environment.”

EmpowerNH, a coalition of New Hampshire energy companies, businesses, trade groups, and environmental organizations, advocates for the continued development of electric competition in New Hampshire and applauds state policymakers that allowed the market to develop.

EmpowerNH launched in May to educate New Hampshire residents and businesses about the choices they have in an increasingly competitive market and how to go about exercising their right to choose an electricity supplier.

“We are confident that the trend of customers seeking competitively priced electricity will continue despite PSNH’s recent rate reduction, which leaves the utility’s rates above market,” said Daniel Allegretti, New England chairman for the Retail Energy Supply Association. “Customers should continue to evaluate competitive offers for electricity supply to capture the value made possible by competition in electricity.”

“We pride ourselves on offering our customers competitive rates and exceptional value,” said Taff Tschamler, senior vice president at North American Power. “Our company was founded on the principles of customer service and giving back and we look forward to working with more Granite Staters as they continue to switch.”

“Savings is important to New Hampshire consumers, but they are also interested in the long term economic, environmental, and social health of the state,” said Candace Sanborn, who heads ENH Power’s philanthropic Power to Help Program. “While offering competitive rates is important, being good stewards of the environment, and doing business with companies who give back at the local level to community groups is also very important to consumers.”

Making the choice is simple and quick. Customers who switch will continue to receive a single bill from PSNH and pay their bill the same way they normally do. PSNH will still be responsible for the delivery service.

That means PSNH will still be responsible for the wires into customer’s homes, reading the meter, trimming trees and responding to outages. No new equipment is required and PSNH does not need to come to the customer’s home to make the switch.

Customers can review the list of companies offering service at the New Hampshire Public Utility Commission website or by calling the PUC at 1-800-528-2070. Once the customer has chosen a supplier, they can sign up over the phone by calling the supplier or go online to the supplier’s website. With the customer’s PSNH bill and account number, it usually takes just a few minutes to make the switch.