Rate Filing is Required Part of Multi-Year Regulation Plan, Company Also Seeking to Stabilize and Offset Some Quarterly Line Item Charges for Customers
COLCHESTER, Vt. – Green Mountain Power (GMP) customers would see no base rate increase if regulators approve the company’s request to hold them flat for the new rate year beginning on Oct. 1, 2020. GMP filed its request with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) Monday afternoon, which must approve rates before they go into effect.
The company is also requesting a change in how quarterly adjustors are handled to provide stability and a smoother approach for customers, especially during these uncertain times. The adjustors are line items that cover costs largely out of GMP’s control, like power restoration following major storms, and power supply, and costs that can be affected by the economy and the weather. GMP’s proposal spreads out these cost changes to lessen the financial impact on customers each month. As part of its Multi-Year Regulation Plan approved by the PUC in 2019 after robust review, GMP has already capped the vast majority of its spending it can control through 2022.
“Our goal is to help all customers through this extraordinary time every way we can, and continuing rate stability and predictability is an important step we can take,” said Mari McClure, president and CEO of Green Mountain Power. “We know there are and will continue to be rising costs due to COVID-19. We are focused on maintaining as much stability for customers as we can while providing reliable, cost-effective, clean power to Vermont for the long run, because we want to help our customers through this difficult time,” she said.
“This is welcome news when so many businesses are going through financial and emotional pain right now, and this will provide stability as they try to emerge from the economic downturn created by COVID-19. This will be a long recovery that takes a lot of work from everyone in Vermont and good news like this provides a bit of hope,” said Betsy Bishop, president of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.
GMP customer Donald Billings owns Roots, a popular restaurant and catering business in Rutland, and he sees a long and difficult path ahead because his losses continue while his costs are rising. Like many restaurant owners in Vermont, he is changing up his business model with more delivery and outdoor options to keep employees and customers safe. “Right now, we have to be creative to survive – we are literally looking for every penny we can to keep this business going in downtown Rutland for the long haul. GMP has been a great partner, and their proposal gives me huge peace of mind as we try to navigate through this rough time, which looks like it could take years,” Billings said.
Under its regulation plan, GMP annually provides forecasts to the PUC that help set its base rate for the coming year. Those forecasts show base rates nearly flat, and so GMP is proposing to allocate a projected $346,000, which would otherwise have created a 0.06% decrease, to help customers by offsetting larger owed adjustors. If approved, this would result in no base rate change for customers starting Oct. 1, and would help reduce any adjustor collections, all in order to provide customers greater stability.
GMP took several steps to assist customers as the pandemic hit, including proactively suspending disconnections, late fees and other collections activity for overdue accounts, and that continues at least through July. GMP also suspended and then offset some quarterly adjustor line charges so that customers would see no bill changes through September. GMP will work with business and residential customers who fall behind with extended payment plans. GMP also just launched new enhanced rebates on carbon-reducing products like heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, electric bikes and e-mowers to save participating customers money and help local energy service companies while reducing costs for all GMP customers.
More information on the filings, and GMP’s current regulation plan can be found at the PUC’s website Regulators will now review this request.
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 266,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and is partnering with them to improve lives and transform communities. GMP is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. GMP is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. GMP earned a spot on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in the World list four years in a row (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020). J.D. Power’s 2018 and 2019 rankings put GMP among top utilities for customer satisfaction. In 2019 and 2020 GMP was named “One of the Best Places to Work in Vermont” by Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, and was the winner of the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Vermont Business of the Year Award in 2019.
Kristin Kelly, Green Mountain Power
Our goal is to help all customers through this extraordinary time every way we can, and continuing rate stability and predictability is an important step we can take.Mari McClure, GMP President and CEO