Wholesale Electricity Prices Fall, But Light Bills Rise

CLICK HERE for the latest chart showing wholesale electricity prices in the ISO-New England.  


Compare the month-over-month prices and you'll see that by year-end 2016 we could save about 4 BILLION DOLLARS on "energy" costs compared to what we spent a few years ago.  

This huge savings is primarily due to low and stable natural gas prices.  Another factor is conservation/efficiency: the chart shows that we are using less power.  Last, we have made some grid management decisions to help reduce the horrific peak pricing on the hottest and coldest days of the year. 

For comparison, 4 BILLION DOLLARS per year is more money than the State of Maine collects via both the sales tax and the income tax!  It's a lot of money, money that consumers should have in our pockets to boost the economy.  

So why is your light bill still high?

Energy policy.  It matters a lot.  

While New England is starting to come to its senses (procuring and enhancing sustainable base load sources like hydro and gas) we are also making some foolish choices (blowing over 2 BILLION DOLLARS on wind projects that don't scratch the grid's surface, closing reliable power plants with no reliable generators available to replace them).

Our light bills include many charges besides the (now low) cost of energy. For instance, many wind projects, through government-mandated long term contracts, force consumers to pay triple and quadruple the market price. Had the Statoil project been built, we would have paid EIGHT TIMES the market rate for the electricity, thanks to the contract forced upon us by our own Public Utilities Commission!

Another downside to wind proliferation is the cost of all those transmission upgrades that we didn't need but for all the wind lobbyists who convinced regulators that the grid was outdated, and that wind energy would be worth the massive expense (they called it "investment"). If useless and unnecessary wind projects are the heist, then excessive transmission upgrades are the getaway car. 

And "capacity payments" to the valuable power plants have quadrupled in just a few short years, because we need those power plants to keep our lights on, but they need to be paid to stay in business. 

So thank you for staying informed and involved as Maine and our neighbors make critical policy decisions about our environment and our economy.  The mountains deserve our protection.  So do our wallets.  We at FMM will continue to educate the public about these important policies.

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