COLCHESTER, Vt. – Green Mountain Power has received approval from the Vermont Public Service Board for its rate phase-in plan for all former Vermont Marble Power Division (VMPD) of Omya, Inc. commercial customers. The plan is designed to help gradually transition commercial customers in Proctor to GMP’s full rate plan, educate customers on electricity demand control and efficiency opportunities and lessen the impact of future rate changes.
“We are extremely happy with the Board’s approval of GMP’s commercial rate phase-in plan,” said June Tess Wilson, co-owner of the Proctor Marble Company, a local business formerly served by VMPD. “As with many businesses in Proctor, our ability to remain a viable operation depends on keeping major costs, such as electricity, to a minimum, and also ensuring that expenses will remain fairly stable over time. We feel this plan will help us do just that, and we appreciate GMP and its employees working with us and the other commercial customers in Proctor to find a practical solution. It is a great example of various parties coming together to find a common result that works for everyone.”
Vermont Marble Power’s assets and customer accounts, including 875 residential and 62 commercial accounts, were acquired by Central Vermont Public Service in September 2011 and were later added to GMP’s service territory following the merger between CVPS and GMP.
Prior to becoming GMP customers, Proctor residents for many years had experienced unusually low rates as Omya regularly subsidized a large percentage of the electrical service in the town. In addition, a number of needed infrastructure upgrades to the VMPD system were put on hold, also contributing to the extremely low rates.
In a proactive effort to reduce the impact of rate changes on commercial customers in Proctor, GMP designed the commercial rate phase-in plan around a schedule of rate credits that will decrease every twelve months until they expire at the end of a three year period.
The rate credits, for both demand and non-demand commercial customers, will result in average bill reductions of 27.2 percent in year one, 18.2 percent in year two and 9 percent in year three.
The schedule will allow customers more time to amend usage, control demand or make any investments necessary in new systems or operations to efficiently utilize their electric service.
“We are very pleased with the Board’s approval of the rate phase-in plan for commercial customers in Proctor,” said Robert Dostis, Director of Government Affairs for Green Mountain Power. “After several months of collaboration with commercial customers in Proctor, the Department of Public Service and Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, we now have a clearly defined rate plan that will enable a smooth transition for these new customers to GMP rates and help them manage their electric usage going forward.”
Under the plan, GMP, in partnership with Efficiency Vermont, will work with commercial customers in Proctor to identify ways to manage their demand along with other opportunities to help lower their electric bills. In addition, both working one-on-one with commercial customers, and at a public education forum, information will be provided on how general service rate determinants operate and what rate options are available.
The rate credits will be funded through the $1.125 million Omya Repayment Obligation Account that was established during CVPS’s purchase of VMPD. The account, which was initially designed to support rate credits for residential customers alone, will now sustain rate credits for both residential and commercial customers formerly served by VMPD.
Previously, CVPS, with approval from the PSB, implemented a similar five-year, six-step rate phase-in plan for VMPD residential customers that also includes providing gradually decreasing rate credits.
“Our goal in working with the commercial customers in Proctor was to develop a plan that eased the shift for them into our current rate structure,” said Dostis. “We understood very well the kind of effects an immediate rate increase could have on businesses in Proctor and we wanted to design a plan that not only limited the up-front impacts for them but also delivered long-term guidance around rate options and usage to help them lower costs.
“We were confident that we’d met those objectives, but receiving swift Board approval provides ultimate confirmation of the plan,” Dostis said.