Versant Rates Changes Effective July 1st

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 2:05 PM EDT
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Changes are coming to certain parts of Versant customers bills effective July 1st. NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard spoke with a Versant representative to see what those rate changes will mean for your wallet.

“So the distribution rate is one of 5 different rates on your electricity bill and what it covers is the cost for Versant power to deliver electricity from the bulk transmission system directly to your home.”

Judy Long, Communications Manager for Versant Power explains one of the changes to customers electric rates recently approved by the Public Utilities Commission. In the approved order, Distribution rates for Versant customers will increase a total of just over 26 percent, broken up in two parts with the first increase taking effect July 1st.

“So when we ask for a distribution rate change it goes directly into investment into the continued reliability of the system as well as our customer service. We understand that this is a difficult time for customers that are facing rising energy costs, and frankly many other rising costs because of inflation. However, at this point we really felt it would be irresponsible for us not to continue to do what we need to do to keep investing in the system to provide safe and reliable service to our customers.”

The second increase is scheduled to take effect at the beginning of the new year with speculation the indexed cost of electricity supply may decrease.

“So we were happy to work with stakeholders and customers to split up this increase in hopes that some of that change may be absorbed in the new year by falling supply prices.”

However, the distribution rate is not the only change customers may see to their bills next month.

“I will tell people the distribution rate change that takes effect July 1 will be one of 4 rates that change for customers in Northern Maine, we do not yet know all the impacts of all those rate changes. So in addition to the distribution rate, you will expect to have changes in the transmission rate, as well as slight changes in the conservation rate. At this time we’re also thinking that unfortunately Stranded Costs are going to be rising significantly for customers in Northern Maine. This is the result of state policy and programs meant to incentivize distributed generation that costs are beginning to accrue.”

Distributed generation, in this instance, referring to solar, and the state’s Net Energy Billing program, which incentivizes renewable energy developers by buying back electricity at a significantly higher price than the cost of generation.

“Because of the incentives we are buying energy at a higher price and selling it low on the market and so the difference in that does accrue to customers.”

Long says ratepayers should have a better idea regarding the changes to their bill as the July 1st effective date approaches.

Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8