New Coalition Aims to Help New Hampshire Benefit From a Thriving Competitive Electricity Market

May 28, 2013

New Hampshire

Concord, NH – A broad-based coalition of environmental and consumer organizations, business and trade groups, and power providers today launched a public information campaign called EmpowerNH. The coalition aims to educate New Hampshire consumers about the power they have to save money and protect the environment through their choice of electricity supplier, and to make it easy to access information and compare offers from competitive suppliers. 

Founding members of the EmpowerNH coalition include Campaign for Ratepayer Rights, COMPETE Coalition, Conservation Law Foundation, ENH Power, the Green Alliance, North American Power, and the Retail Energy Supply Association.

Beginning today, EmpowerNH will roll out a multimedia campaign designed to alert consumers to their right to choose which company supplies the electricity that powers their home or business and where that energy comes from. In a vibrant market for electricity suppliers in New Hampshire thanks to competition, retail and business customers alike are finding that choosing a competitive supplier can deliver a number of benefits.

On average, residential households that have switched from New Hampshire’s largest utility, Public Service Co. of New Hampshire (PSNH), to competitive suppliers this year are saving between $15 and $20 per month on their electric bills.

And because competitive electricity suppliers generally purchase energy from a cleaner pool of sources than PSNH’s energy mix, which includes power from its inefficient and outdated power plants, customers making the switch can also reduce their carbon footprint.  The typical household purchasing their energy from a competitive supplier, whose mix of sources includes newer, more efficient power plants, and renewable sources like wind and solar, is preventing more than 2 tons of carbon dioxide pollution each year, or even more with a supplier’s green energy products.

Many consumers are already exercising their right to purchase from a competitive supplier. According to the most recent statistics provided the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, nearly 50,000 of PSNH’s residential customers had switched to competitive supply by the end of the first quarter of 2013. This is a dramatic increase when compared to the same period last year, when 2,700 PSNH residential customers were purchasing electricity from competitive suppliers.

“For the first time ever, we in New Hampshire have an easy opportunity to save lots of money on electricity while also protecting New Hampshire’s environment and our way of life,” said Jonathan Peress, Vice President and Director, Clean Energy and Climate Change, Conservation Law Foundation.

“New Hampshire consumers are benefitting from a very competitive market that is creating a virtuous circle: more competition leads to cheaper electric bills leads to less energy coming from polluting coal plants. It’s a win-win-win for NH residents, our economy and the environment, and the more people who exercise their power to choose, the better it gets,” Peress said.

Candace Sanborn, Vice President, Marketing at ENH Power, said, “ENH Power is proud to participate in EmpowerNH, providing New Hampshire residents with unbiased information to help them understand their options for cheaper, cleaner electricity supply for their homes and small businesses.”

North American Power’s Chief Marketing Officer, Greg Breitbart, said, “We are dedicated to improving the environment, supporting local communities and creating jobs through our commitment to our customers.” 

“New Hampshire’s small businesses and green-minded consumers are eager to take advantage of cleaner and cheaper options that will save them money and reduce their carbon footprints,” said Sarah Brown, executive director of the Green Alliance.

“Competitive retail energy suppliers are dedicated to providing customers with value for their energy dollars,” said Daniel Allegretti, the Retail Energy Supply Association’s New England chair. “For residential customers it means more choices and savings that can be spent on other goods, which helps stimulate the state’s economy. For business customers this means freeing up resources that can be reinvested in their business operations to preserve and promote jobs.”

PSNH’s rates jumped 34 percent in December, resulting in a default service rate of 9.54 cents per kilowatt-hour. That rate is expected to remain at least 8.98 cents per kilowatt-hour through the end of 2013. This marks a substantial increase from the 2012 default service rate of 7.11 cents. Meanwhile, ISO-New England announced that its wholesale power rates in 2012 plunged to the lowest levels in 10 years.

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Together with our members, we play a critical role in educating key stakeholders and are active in support of or opposition to bills that affect competitive electricity markets, consumers, and RESA initiated legislation.

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