Vt. Utilities Plan to Lower Rates

Published: 1/26/2018 12:10:21 AM
Modified: 1/26/2018 12:11:23 AM

Montpelier — The federal tax cut Republicans adopted in December will result in a reduction in rates for electricity and natural gas customers in Vermont, utility representatives say.

Federal corporate taxes have been reduced from 35 percent to 21 percent. Green Mountain Power and Vermont Gas are passing along savings from that tax break to customers.

This week GMP announced customers will save $6 million as a result of the federal tax break.

Rates will be reduced by 1 percent, according to Kristin Carlson, vice president of strategic and external affairs for the company.

Regulators approved a 5 percent increase for Green Mountain Power last month. Thanks to the tax cuts, that rate increase will go down to 4 percent.

The average residential customer will see a reduction of about $12 a year, Carlson said. Commercial electricity customers will receive larger rate breaks.

Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell has said the company will give ratepayers 100 percent of the savings.

Customers of the state’s only natural gas utility, Vermont Gas, will realize savings of $2.4 million as a result of the federal tax change. That’s the equivalent of a 5.6 percent rate decrease, according to Beth Parent, the spokesperson for Vermont Gas, or about a $40 yearly reduction in gas costs.

Utilities nationwide are using corporate tax savings to lower rates. Bloomberg News reported last month that ratepayers nationwide would save an average of 5 percent on monthly bills.

Vermont Gas, which serves 51,000 customers, is the only natural gas utility in the state. Green Mountain Power delivers electricity to 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont.

Both utilities are owned by the Quebec company Energir, a $7 billion utility company based in Montreal that was formerly known as Gaz Metro. Vermonters make up three-fifths of Energir’s customers.

Vermont regulators set profit rates for utilities that are based on a percentage of the value of capital assets in Vermont.

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