2014-11-07 / Community

Customers prepared for rate increases

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK — Kennebunk Light and Power District will raise its prices come Jan. 1 as part of a two-year district contract to stabilize power supply costs for its customers as rates continue to increase across the region.

In the new year, the rate charged for power supply from KLPD will increase $0.020570 per kilowatt hour (kWh) from $0.064830 to $0.08540 for commercial and residential accounts, said Sharon Staz, general manager for the district.

“The average residential consumer uses 750 kilowatt hours per month,” Staz said. “At this consumption level, the increase will be $15.43 per month. If your average home consumption is 500 kWh, the increase will be $10.28.”

The total cost per kWh is just below 11 cents, Staz said. At the first of the year, KLPD’s cost will increase to just below 13 cents.

Unlike other competing power entities such as Central Maine Power, KLPD’s increase will remain fixed while others, like CMP, will ebb and flow. For example, CMP officials have conjectured that by January and February, price per kilowatt will reach $0.14438, according to the Maine Public Utilities Commission website.

Maine deregulated the electric industry in 1998, which gave Maine residents the option to shop around for a power supplier. Smaller operations, like KLPD, benefited from this legislation.

KLPD was incorporated in 1951 and is one of eight not-for-profit, consumerowned electric utility services in the state. It provides services to more than 6,500 residents in Kennebunk, Arundel, Lyman and Wells.

Because KLPD is a not-for-profit, consumer-owned utility, no add-on fees are incurred for customers.

”The constraints of getting natural gas into New England combined with the fact that over 55 percent of the power supply in the New England grid comes from gasfired generation plants places a burden of high costs to all New England electric ratepayers,” Staz said.

She cited the 3.5 percent general rise in the cost of electricity in the first quarter of 2013 and 2014 as verification.

“In New England, for that same time frame the price increase was 11.8 percent,” Staz said. Due to the insufficient pipeline infrastructure in Maine, she, along with the state, believe that electricity prices will only continue to rise over the next few years.

Because KLPD is a public power electric company, it is able to purchase power at the wholesale cost and sell it at the retail cost to customers, Staz said. Historically, KLPD is “proud” of the fact that “power supply costs to its customers have been below the standard offer costs ever since deregulation began,” Staz said.

“The district will continue to provide its customers with the best possible cost of power it can obtain as well as provide reliable and safe service.”

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