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Electricity users in Emera Maine’s Bangor Hydro District could see their monthly bills drop about $3.50 starting in July.
A typical residential customer who uses 500 kilowatt hours of electricity a month will see a $3.53 reduction in their bill, according to Judy Long, a spokeswoman for Emera Maine.
Those customers in the utility’s Maine Public District consuming 500 kilowatt hours a month, however, will see their bills go up just over $1, Long said Thursday morning. The Maine Public District consists mostly of Aroostook County.
Long said customers will see changes to the transmission, stranded-cost and conservation rates on their monthly bill, while Emera Maine’s distribution rates won’t change.
The transmission rate decrease in the Bangor Hydro District — Hancock, Washington, Piscataquis and most of Penobscot counties — is the result of lower federal taxes and a delayed transmission project, Long said.
The increase in the company’s other service territory is largely due to the age of the system, she said. Another factor in the increased transmission costs is the April closure of the ReEnergy biomass plant in Ashland.
In that area, “some transmission poles and structures are more than 50 or in some cases 60 years old, and we’re working to rebuild the system in a cost-effective way,” Long said.
The decline in the stranded-cost rate is the result of the 2018 expiration of Emera’s contract with the Penobscot Energy Recovery Company trash incinerator in Orrington. Until 2018, the incinerator received above-market rates from Emera’s ratepayers for the electricity it produced. The shuffling of some long-term contracts for power between Central Maine Power Co. and both of Emera’s service districts has also affected the stranded-cost rates for Emera customers, Long said.
Customers will see lower conservation rates because of reduced payments required for the Efficiency Maine Trust, the state body that runs energy-efficiency initiatives, according to Long.
In April, Emera Maine withdrew a request with the Maine Public Utilities Commission to increase its distribution rate. That rate increase, if approved, would have raised customers’ bills $5.75 a month per 500 kilowatt hours of electricity consumption starting in early 2020. That was 25 cents less than Emera Maine’s initial estimate in a filing submitted to the commission in January.
The request was put on hold while Nova Scotia-based Emera Inc. awaits regulatory approval for the proposed sale of its Maine subsidiary to ENMAX Corp. of Calgary, Alberta. The $1.3 billion deal was announced on March 25.