PUC: Retail Supplier Customers Paid $78 Million More Than Default Service Over Three Years
The Maine PUC said in a report, using EIA 861 data, residential customers that received electricity supply service from a competitive electric provider (CEP) over the three-year period 2014 through 2016 paid approximately $77.7 million more than what they would have paid for standard offer service.
"On average, [residential] customers served by CEPs paid approximately 56% more than they would have paid for standard offer service in 2016; 60% more in 2015; and 12% more in 2014. On a dollar per customer basis, on average, customers served by CEPs paid approximately $245 more than they would have paid for standard offer service in 2016; $278 more in 2015; and $67 more in 2014," the PUC said
"The Commission also examined the same issue for the years 2012 and 2013. This showed that CEP customers paid approximately $2.5 million more than they would have paid for standard offer service in 2013 and approximately $3.5 million less than standard offer service in 2012. As noted above, prior to 2012, there were few, if any, competitive options for residential customers and virtually all residential customers received standard offer service. Over the full period 2012-2016, customers paid about $76.7 million more for CEP service compared to standard offer service," the PUC said
In requiring the comparison, Legislation directed the Commission, where possible, to indicate if and how CEP products purchased by residential consumers differed from standard-offer service. The PUC said, "During the 2014-2016 period, several CEPs did offer renewable, or 'green,' supply product options. The information available to the Commission through CEP reporting does not reveal what portion of the sales were associated with a renewable product as opposed to a standard energy product. One supplier, Clearview Electric Inc., was offering only renewable energy supply products during this period. The CEP that served the vast majority of residential customers during the 2014-2016 time period, Electricity Maine, LLC, did not offer any renewable supply products. The Commission also notes that several of the CEPs in this time frame offered 'variable' monthly rates as compared to the fixed price standard offer service. A variable product typically involves price changes every month based on a price index or changes in wholesale market prices. Alternatively, CEPs also offered fixed prices for various terms that differed from the term for which standard prices were in effect."
A copy of the PUC's report was posted by the Bangor Daily News, which includes the aggregate amounts charged by certain specific retail suppliers
The Bangor Daily News reports that the PUC's report under-estimates the cost paid in excess by competitive supply customers because not all suppliers were included in the available 861 data.
"[D]ata reported directly by the state’s utilities show that sales by retail suppliers were 31 percent higher than the federal figures indicated," the Bangor Daily News reported