RUTLAND, VT – Central Vermont Public Service (NYSE-CV) has asked the Vermont Public Service Board to authorize a 5.91 percent rate increase under the company’s alternative regulation plan, which would leave the company’s rates among the lowest of the major utilities in New England.
The change would take effect with bills rendered starting Jan. 1, 2010.
The bill for a residential customer who uses 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month would rise from $73.49 to $77.89, a difference of $4.40. By comparison, the same customer would pay as much as $105.33 elsewhere in New England, according to the Edison Electric Institute.
Since 1999, CVPS rates have risen at a fraction of the rate of inflation in the energy sector, with a handful of small increases and decreases. Overall, rates in 2010 are expected to be just 12.6 percent higher than in 1999. Based on the latest federal data available, the Consumer Price Index for energy has increased 122 percent.
“We continue to drive costs out of the business, which mitigated the proposal considerably,” CVPS President Bob Young said. “The biggest drivers are increases in power costs, transmission costs, and reliability improvements to our systems, which are critical to our customers.
“We have worked extremely hard to balance costs with our customers’ expectations for reliability and customer service,” Young said. “Despite this change, our rates will remain among the most affordable in the region.”
Under the CVPS proposal, the company’s allowed return on equity would drop from 9.77 percent to 9.59 percent.
The new rates will serve as the base rates for 2010 under CVPS’s alternative regulation framework approved by the PSB in 2008. Under the plan, CVPS’s rates are adjusted up or down every quarter to account for specified changes in power costs, and annually for specified changes in other costs and earnings. Throughout much of 2009, CVPS customers have received a small credit, adjusted quarterly on their bills, because power costs were lower than previous forecasts.