By Elizabeth Gribkoff/VTDigger
Customers of Vermont’s largest electrical utility will see a slight rate decrease on their bills for the first nine months of next year.
The rate case drew an unusual amount of public scrutiny last month due to an anonymous letter, and subsequent public comment from a former senior official, claiming that the state failed to properly advocate for ratepayers in the hearings.
But Friday, Dec. 21, the state Public Utility Commission – a three member, quasi-judicial board that regulates utilities in Vermont – approved the requested 5.43 percent increase in rates for Green Mountain Power customers.
Although the rate increase goes into effect this January, the utility will use money from federal tax cuts to offset the rate hike with a credit on bills through Sept. 30. That credit translates into a roughly 1 percent rate decrease during that time period, said Kristin Carlson, vice president of regulatory affairs for the utility.
The rate change for GMP customers after the tax credits have been returned is unclear as the PUC is still reviewing a three-year alternative regulation proceeding that will provide a framework for future annual rate setting.
“It’s too soon to say what will happen next year,” said Carlson.
The utility filed for a multi-year plan because traditional rate cases, like the eight-month proceeding that just went before the PUC, are costly and provide less stability for customers, Carlson said.