Paris swaps electricity offers to save on projected spikes

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PARIS — The town has swapped electricity providers in a bid to save money when rates are expected to increase early next year. 

Paris has locked into a 24-month deal with Electricity Maine at $0.095 per kilowatt hour for its small and medium commercial accounts, which covers electricity consumption from the fire station to its streetlights. The new rate is about 26 percent more than it is currently paying for the Maine Public Utility Commissions’ standard offer, approximately $0.075. 

The new rate will become effective in March.

Paris received two additional bids, $0.0955 from Integrys Energy and $0.1006 from Constellation Energy.

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Selectmen approved the deal at their meeting Monday evening. 

Town Manager Amy Bernard said the town had planned for a lower, 10 percent hike in its 2014-2015 budget. The town will have to absorb the price increase under current spending for three months until a new budget can be adopted in July. The town was still calculating if its current account balance would cover the increase, Bernard said. 

“It’s the only Maine company, so we are trying to keep local,” Bernard said.  

The Maine Public Utilities Commission has previously warned that shortages in the supply of natural gas in New England will cause electricity rates for businesses to spike this winter

The Maine PUC is expected to announce new rates for small commercial and residential accounts in January; Paris’ accounts are split between small and medium consumption. With the PUC standard offer, its medium rate fluctuated month to month. 

“I think 24 months is our best bet trying to ride this wave until it stabilizes,” she said. 

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