The restructuring of New Hampshire’s electric industry in 2001 gave customers the freedom to purchase their electric energy from a supplier other than their regulated utility. PSNH customers can choose to purchase their electric energy from PSNH, which owns and operates a fleet of state-regulated power plants, or from an alternate energy supplier, which may provide electricity from a variety of different sources. Either way, PSNH is responsible for delivering the electricity to the customer’s home or business.
At this time, electric energy suppliers are offering services for many business and commercial customers. Only a few suppliers have entered the market for residential customers.
Finding a Supplier
All electric energy suppliers interested in doing business in the state are required to register with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC). You can find a list of registered energy suppliers on the NHPUC’s website. You can also read more details and FAQs in the Understanding your Electricity Supply Choices trifold brochure.
Factors to Consider
Before choosing an electric energy supplier, you should clearly understand all rates and charges, both fixed and variable. Pay attention to things like Installed Capacity charges (ICAP) and other charges and fees. Be sure to ask potential suppliers for clear estimates of all variable charges.
Other factors to consider include:
- Supplier History: How established is the supplier, how solid are its financial resources, and what is its reputation?
- Price: Is price most important, or are you also interested in products and services that a supplier may offer? When comparing costs, be sure to use PSNH’s current Energy Service rate as a benchmark to measure potential savings from alternate suppliers; historical market and PSNH Energy Service rates are not an indicator of future pricing or savings.
- Risk: Would you prefer a fixed price, or would you be willing to take more risk with the chance for lower prices (such as with indexed pricing)? Some contracts include an “out clause” should the utility (PSNH) price drop a certain percentage below the contract price. You may also want to consider a rate cap which is a price the contract will not exceed.
- Firm full requirements: Are all supplier services covered under one price, or will you have to pay for any ancillary services?
- Billing and payment: What is the supplier’s billing period, and what are the penalties for late payment? Be sure to ask how the supplier will bill you for the electric energy service provided. Does the supplier do its own billing, or does it offer the option of combining its bill for energy service with PSNH’s bill for delivery service?
- Term: What is the trend of the market price of power? Would it be to your advantage to lock into a long-term contract, or should you stay with a short-term deal (i.e., 6 to 12 months)?
- Force Majeure: What is included in this clause, and how much risk does it place on you?
- Customer Service: Does the supplier offer the level of customer assistance that you want/need? Do you require a company representative assigned to you to assist you with any service needs?
- Aggregation: With an aggregator or a “buying group,” customers join together to buy energy collectively from one supplier at a competitive rate. This may be a way to achieve savings. Is it the right choice for you, based on your load characteristics?
- Contract management: Do you have adequate resources to effectively manage your supplier contract in order to verify billing accuracy, provide proper notification of termination, monitor competitiveness, etc.?
Information the Supplier May Request
Your company’s electric load characteristics will play a large role in how a supplier prices your energy. Many prospective suppliers may request the following information from you to help prepare their offers:
- Interval load data (available for large commercial customers only; rates GV and LG)
- 12 months of actual bills
- Specific account information
- Your plans for adding or reducing load and usage
PSNH can provide this information to you and, with your written consent, directly to your supplier. To obtain this information from PSNH, contact us at 1-800-662-7764.
Information the Energy Supplier Should Give You
When selecting a new energy supplier, you have the right to receive certain information. An energy supplier must provide you with the following information before it can accept you as a customer:
- All prices of the services being offered to you, including any penalties or fees.
- How long the energy supplier will guarantee its quoted price and terms.
- How long you will need to continue purchasing your energy from the energy supplier.
- A description of how to settle a problem if you are unhappy with the service.
- An explanation of how you will be billed for the energy you use.
- The supplier’s policy regarding disclosure to third parties of customer usage, billing and payment information.
- A description of the supplier’s dispute resolution process.
- An advisory regarding the period available to you where you can rescind your authorization to utilize their services.
- The toll-free telephone number of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission’s Consumer Affairs Division.
Transferring Service to a New Supplier
When transferring service to another energy supplier, you only have to notify that new supplier. Before an energy supplier can switch your energy service, it must receive permission from you. This permission can be written, faxed, electronic, or verbal. Written authorization must be signed by you, and verbal permission must be verified with you by an independent third party.
For More Information
PSNH Customer Service: 1-800-662-7764
New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission: 1-800-528-2070