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Vermont’s largest electric utility seeks October 1 rate increase

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont’s largest electric utility asked the state Thursday for permission to increase its rates about 2.5 percent Oct. 1 and as much as 2.5 percent again next year to help pay for $24 million in additional transmission fees.

If approved, the average Green Mountain Power customer’s bill of about $100 would go up by about $2.50. The utility has about 250,000 customers in Vermont.

Last year GMP reduced rates 0.4 percent. Thursday’s request was the first rate increase the utility sought since merging last year with the Central Vermont Public Service Corp.

The utility said has moved to cut costs, including a $13 million savings from the merger, and that without those savings the rate increase would have been at least 2 percent higher.

“The Green Mountain Power team is incredibly focused on providing cost-effective, highly reliable and friendly service to its customers,” said GMP President Mary Powell.

The Public Service Board, which regulates utilities, was expected to rule before Oct. 1.

The proposal was supported by the Department of Public Service, which represents Vermont consumers before the board.

Power transmission costs are increasing and can vary widely from year to year, and the increases will stabilize costs, officials said.

“No single state or utility has control over these regional transmission costs, and that is why we are working with other states and stakeholders in the region to push for non-transmission alternatives and better planning to reduce regional transmission costs,” said Public Service Department Commissioner Christopher Recchia.

The proposal calls for increasing rates 2.46 percent Oct. 1. A second increase would come Oct. 1, 2014, but the size would be determined after the Public Service Board studies GMP’s operations to determine how much is needed. It would be no more than 2.5 percent.

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