Maine’s Versant Power proposes changes to its distribution rates

Published on March 08, 2024 by Dave Kovaleski

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Maine’s Versant Power has filed a plan with regulators to change its distribution rates in 2025.

If approved, the average residential customer using 500 kilowatt-hours per month would see an increase of about $12 per month. A customer using 750 kwh would see an $18 increase, while a customer using 1,000 kwh could expect a $25 bump up in rate.

The new rates incorporate investments and commitments the company will make to continually improve the standard of service for its customers. The changes also reflect Versant Power’s commitment to meet the state’s new service metrics, as well as its climate and energy objectives.

Specifically, the company plans to install covered wire in heavily forested areas in northern Penobscot, Piscataquis and Hancock counties to reduce outages caused by falling trees and branches. It will also conduct substation work and transformer replacements to ensure reliability in Brewer, Washington County and southern Aroostook County. Further, investments will be made to rebuild infrastructure to improve reliability in Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor, Blue Hill and Trenton.

In addition, the company will replace an underwater cable from Swan’s Island to Frenchboro. The rates also reflect the recovery of major storm restoration costs, as well as investments in technology to modernize customers’ interactions. The technology investments will include a new web portal as well as email and text notification capabilities. This, in addition to continued work to maintain the reliability and resiliency of the grid.

It should be noted that the request involves a change to the distribution rate, one of five rates that make up customer bills. If this rate change is approved, Versant Power will still offer distribution rates and total average residential bills that are lower than most comparable New England utilities.

Versant Power customers will receive a letter that includes information about how they can stay informed and involved in the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s evaluation of our request. The process for a distribution rate change is subject to approximately a year of review.

The company also noted that the Maine Public Utilities Commission is exploring an audit of its management and operations to provide third-party insight into reasonable costs for its services.

Versant Power is Maine’s second-largest electric utility, delivering electricity to more than 160,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in northern and eastern Maine.