The Maine Public Utilities Commission ruled in favor of an 88% rate increase this week for Versant customers.

It's not the news any of us wanted to hear, after learning that the cost of heating oil is also going to see increases this winter. The Maine PUC announced this week that residential Versant customers who receive standard offer service can expect to see an increase of 88.6% in their supply rates, effective January 1, 2022. That will figure out to about $30 per month on the total bill for an average customer using 550kWh/month.

The increase will apply not only to residential customers but also to business customers in the Bangor Hydro District, as well as for large business customers in Versant's Maine Public District. Obviously, the businesses that use more than 550kWh/month will see a larger increase than $30 per month, but it will still be based on the 88.6% increase in their supply rates. The increases apply to customers who do not purchase electricity from a competitive supplier of their choosing and instead receive Standard Offer Supply by default.

These new Standard Offer supply rates are the result of a competitive bidding process conducted by the Public Utilities Commission, as required by state law. PUC officials say the increase is strongly influenced by natural gas which, among other energy sectors have seen the following increases:

  • Natural Gas 94.80% increase Oct. 2020-Oct. 2021
  • Heating Oil 121.7% increase Oct. 2020-Oct. 2021
  • Wholesale Electricity 126.3% increase Nov. 2020-Nov. 2021
  • Standard Offer 77% increase Nov. 2020-Nov. 2021

Maine Public Utilities Commission Chairman Philip L. Bartlett says the new prices are competitive and the best value for Versant's customers.

Unfortunately, sharp increases in natural gas prices are resulting in higher electricity costs for the upcoming year. This increase is primarily driven by New England's wholesale electricity market prices which have increased dramatically.

Central Maine Power customers have not yet learned what their rate increases will look like. That decision is forthcoming.

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