January 13, 2023
Dear Co-op Member:
In mid-November 2022, that the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) announced increased Standard Offer Service electricity supply prices for Central Maine Power and Versant Power that are effective for the 2023 year. These prices were based on a competitive bid process conducted by the MPUC.
The Standard Offer Supply electricity price for Eastern Maine Electric Cooperative (Co-op) did NOT increase. The existing Standard Offer Supply electricity price of 5.9 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) will continue to be the price.
Effective January 1, 2023, the residential Standard Offer Service price for Central Maine Power increased from 11.8 cents per kWh to 17.6 cents per kWh (49% increase), Versant Power Bangor Hydro District increased from 11.6 cents per kWh to 16.4 cents per kWh (40% increase), and Versant Power Maine Public District increased from 11.0 cents per kWh to 14.8 cents per kWh (34% increase).
The Standard Offer Service price increase for these utilities is due to the market conditions in the electricity market, which is greatly influenced by natural gas prices.
Again, the Standard Offer Service price for Co-op members of 5.9 cents per kWh is NOT increasing.
The Co-op continually monitors the electricity market. In March 2020, when the electricity market was much lower than it has been in the past couple of years, the Co-op entered into a long-term contract with New Brunswick Power for a Standard Offer Service price of 5.9 cents that covers the period from November 1, 2020, through October 31, 2025.
We are very pleased that we have been able, so far, to avoid the large increases in Standard Offer Service prices. While the future cannot be predicted, the Co-op certainly hopes that the electricity market pricing will come back down especially before the end of the existing contract in 2025. During the term of the existing Standard Offer Service contract, the Co-op will continue to monitor the electricity markets and take appropriate actions to provide the best long-term, stable Standard Offer Service price possible.
Maintaining the existing 5.9 cent price and not paying current market prices for the Standard Offer Service represents approximately $592 annually that will not be paid by a Co-op Member that uses 550 kilowatt hours a month. Maintaining the 5.9 cent price and not paying the higher prices represents approximately $9.0 million that Co-op members will not pay in 2023. This savings is in addition to the $4.9 million that Co-op members did not pay in 2022, due to maintaining the lower Standard Offer Service price.
I also wanted to take a moment to express the Co-op’s appreciation for your patience and understanding during the two significant storms that caused extensive power outages during the last half of December 2022. No one wants to have power outages, particularly in the winter and near a holiday.
The first storm and outages started on December 17th and lasted four days. During the course of this outage, outside resources were brought in to provide assistance restoring power. In addition to the Co-op’s line crews, seven additional line crews and three tree clearing crews were helping to restore power.
The second storm and outages started on December 23rd. Power was restored to all occupied dwellings by the evening of December 24th. Additional restoration work continued afterwards as there were some new outages reported later in the evening on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day.
The Co-op employees did a terrific job restoring power safely and as quickly as possible during both outages.
I wish everyone a happy, prosperous, and healthy New Year.
Scott M. Hallowell