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Customers of Versant Power to see significant rate hike

Hydropower Transmission Project
Robert F. Bukaty
AP file
In this Tuesday, May 28, 2019, photo, power lines are seen in Pownal, Maine.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission accepted bids and announced new electricity supply rates for customers in Versant Power's Bangor Hydro District for 2023.

The rates apply to the "standard offer," which most Mainers purchase. For residential customers, the rate will be 16.4 cents a kilowatt hour.

PUC Chair Phil Bartlett says it's a significant rate hike.

"For the average customer they will see about a 20.7% increase on their total bill, which translates into around $24 a month, of additional cost," Bartlett says.

He says the increase is driven by global natural gas prices, which are volatile, and affected by the war in Ukraine. Bartlett says, over time, shifting to renewable sources of energy should help to bring prices down. And he says Maine has some of the lowest electricity rates in New England.

The commission will announce the standard offer rates for Central Maine Power and Versant Power's Maine Public District on Wednesday.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.