RUTLAND - The Vermont Public Service Board has approved a 7.46 percent Central Vermont Public Service rate increase.
Due to reliability and transmission improvements and increasing power costs, in November CVPS asked the Vermont Public Service Board to authorize an 8.34 percent rate increase under the company's alternative regulation plan. Last month, CVPS and the DPS agreed to reduce the increase to 7.67 percent. The PSB further reduced the rate to 7.46 percent pending further investigation by the PSB.
In addition to the rate change, the company and DPS agreed on changes to and an extension of CVPS's alternative regulation plan, but the board said it needed more time to examine the proposal. Even with the increase, CVPS's rates will remain among the lowest of the major utilities in New England.
Under the base rate change, a residential customer using 500 kilowatt-hours per month would experience a $5.77 increase, from $78.11 to $83.88. By comparison, the same customer would pay as much as $121.80 elsewhere in New England, according to the Edison Electric Institute.
Since 1999, CVPS rates have risen at a fraction of the rate of inflation in the energy sector, with a handful of increases and decreases, including a 1.15 percent decrease in July. Overall, rates in 2011 are expected to be 20.8 percent higher than in 1999. Based on the latest federal data available, the Consumer Price Index for Energy has increased 81 percent.
Other Vermont utilities have received rate increases ranging from 3.11 percent to as much as 30.76 percent in the past eight months.
Unless altered by the board, the new rates will serve as the base rates for 2011 under CVPS's amended alternative regulation framework. Under the plan, CVPS's rates are adjusted up or down every quarter to account for specified changes in power costs, and annually for specified changes in other costs and earnings.