The first of New Hampshire's electric industry restructuring laws was enacted in May of 1996 when RSA 374-F (HB 1392), the "Electric Utility Restructuring Act," was passed. Full retail competition was slated to begin no later than July 1, 1998, but litigation over who should pay for prior investments ("stranded costs") and other issues delayed statewide implementation and has resulted in a utility-by-utility phase-in approach. In addition to the PSNH Settlement that allowed for electric competition in the near future, two other NH electric utilities have opened their service areas to competition.
In July 1998, a settlement between Granite State Electric Company (GSEC), the State, and customer groups was finalized, giving GSEC customers substantial rate reductions, unbundling rates, and opening the door to customer choice.
The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) opened its service territory to competition on January 1, 2000, after the State helped NHEC reach a settlement with its wholesale supplier, PSNH, to resolve barriers to competition, and NHEC customers saw significant rate reductions. For both GSEC and NHEC customers, shopping activity is expected to gather momentum once the PSNH Settlement is implemented. The State's other two investor-owned electric utilities, Unitil (parent company of Concord Electric Company and Exeter and Hampton Electric Company) and Connecticut Valley Electric Company, have not yet opened their service territories to competition.
For more information on electric retail choice in New Hampshire, see www.powerischoice.com.
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