Sunday , January 24 2021

Maritime Electric proposes rate hike for Islanders | Local | News

Islanders may be paying more for electricity in 2019 if Maritime Electric has its way.

The utility has a proposal before the Icelandic Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) to raise rates 3.3 percent over the next three years – 1.1 percent in 2019, 2020 and 2021 – for the average customer.

"It will vary for customers depending on their energy use but for most of our customers we are proposing 1.1 percent over the next three years, per year if approved, starting in March 2019," said Kim Griffin, spokeswoman with Maritime Electric.

The application has been filed with IRAC and there will be a public process for those who want to submit comments. There is a link available on Maritime Electric's website as well as IRAC's.

One of the factors for the proposed increase is the planned decommissioning of the Charlottetown generating station. That's set for 2022, 2023.

Also starting March 1, 2019, customers will notice a new line item on their monthly bills, one that is set for energy efficiency and demand side management.

"It's going to be a separate cost line item that customers will see on their bill," said Griffin, adding that there are a number of energy efficient programs and energy conservation plans filed by government to IRAC.

Maritime Electric and the city of Summerside will bear the cost. It will cost Maritime Electric customers about 46 cents per month on their bills.

The P.E.I. utility is also taking a closer look at how it bills customers. At present, customers are billed under two blocks of electricity consumption – up to 2,000 kilowatt hours per month and over 2,000 kilowatt hours per month.

"Right now, if you use more than 2,000 you are actually charged and lower rate so you can actually get a better deal if you use more," said Griffin. "That's probably sending the wrong signal from an energy conservation perspective and P.E.I. is the only province in Canada left with this declining block rate.

So, Maritime Electric has ordered some special meters in and will look at it over the winter and in 2021.

"There are some customers who do not want us to eliminate it and some customers that do. Certainly, there are more and more people using electricity but, at the same time, in this day of energy conservation we believe that it is an important component to look at.

Griffin said customers can call the call center to find out how their proposed rate of influence affects them personally.

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