History of Energy Deregulation in the USA: New Hampshire

Before energy deregulation, public utility companies had monopolistic control over the production, processing, and distribution of energy.

This lack of competition provided no incentive for utility companies to improve efficiency, price, or service.

Most New Hampshire residents and businesses have enjoyed energy choice since 2003. The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission supports energy choice and educates New Hampshire residents about their options. In addition, they authorize retail energy suppliers in the state.

A Brief Explanation of Energy Deregulation

The cost of electricity in New Hampshire is divided into two primary segments–supply and delivery. If you’ve chosen the supplier, you are benefitting from energy deregulation and electric choice.

Energy deregulation affects the first step of the process for getting energy to your home or business–generation or exploitation. During this stage, energy is generated from a variety of renewable and non-renewable sources and sold to retail suppliers.

This is the step open to competition.

The second and third steps–transmission and distribution–are still taken care of by your utility and is regulated, regardless of the provider.

For electricity, transmission refers to sending power from the generating plant, via high voltage lines. Distribution refers to transferring power from a distribution network to your home, via wires.

For natural gas customers, transmission refers to gas transportation, via pipelines, normally above ground and under high pressure. Distribution involves getting natural gas to your home through underground pipes.

Natural gas has not been deregulated in New Hampshire.

A Brief History of Energy Deregulation in New Hampshire

Prior to deregulation in New Hampshire, four electric distribution companies served specific service areas in the state.

The New Hampshire legislature enacted legislation in 1996 directing the Public Utilities Commission to develop a restructuring plan that would put in place electric retail choice for all consumers in the state beginning Jan. 1, 1998.

As of 2012, only 5% of residential customers had taken advantage of energy choice in New Hampshire. A large number of business and industrial consumers, however, have made the switch.

Brief Timeline of Energy Deregulation in New Hampshire.

1996 – The New Hampshire legislature directs the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC) to create a restructuring plan to remove utility monopolies and allow competition in the energy supply market.

1997 – The NHPUC issues a final plan for restructuring the electric power industry in New Hampshire. The plan addresses market structure, unbundling electric services, stranded costs, and public policy issues.

1998 – Granite State Electric restructures and offers electric choice to 36,000 customers with rate cuts up to 17 percent beginning July 1998.

2001 – The Public Service Company of New Hampshire’s restructuring plan goes into effect and most of New Hampshire becomes eligible for electric choice.

2003 – Unitil Corporation restructures and offers electric choice in May 2003.

How to Take Advantage of Electric Choice in New Hampshire

Shopping for alternative electric suppliers in New Hampshire is easy.

Compare alternative electric suppliers. Check out the deregulatedenergy.com website to find alternative suppliers in the Granite State.

Choose a supplier. Simply switching suppliers won’t automatically lower your bill or give you the service you want. Choose the supplier that best fits your needs.

Understand the terms. Don’t switch until you understand the contract. What, for example, is the term of the contract? Is there a penalty for terminating the contract early? Is the rate fixed or variable? Is the initial rate a promotional rate that expires?

Make the switch. Once you find the right electric supplier, simply let them know. They’ll inform the utility and the switch will be made without a disruption in service.

With freedom and choice comes responsibility. When choosing an alternative energy supplier, you should get as much information as possible to make the best decision possible.

The DeregulatedEnergy.Com directory contains all the information you need for energy choices in New Hampshire. The directory includes the following.

The names of retail energy providers in the state

The regulatory office overseeing utilities

The regional transmission organization or independent system operator for gas

The FERC region for New Hampshire

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