Green Mountain Power: Regulators recommend $22M cut to rate increase

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State regulators have recommended a cap on electricity rate increases proposed by Vermont's largest power company.

Green Mountain Power has asked for a 4.98 percent increase in 2018. The Vermont Public Service Department is suggesting that the utility reduce the rate increase to 1.68 percent, a $21.7 million reduction.

The recommendation has been filed with the Public Utilities Commission, a quasi-judicial body that sets utility rates.

Jim Porter, the director for public advocacy for the department, said in a statement that the recommendations "would still allow GMP to continue to deliver safe and reliable services to its customers, maintain affordability and advance State energy goals."

"The Department examined GMP's power supply strategy to ensure that rates stay stable and this helps residential consumers and small business better plan for their energy spending," Porter said.

The department hired three outside firms to review the GMP rate request. The analysis included review of regulatory accounting, the cost of capital and capital spending.

Brian Winn, the director of finance and economics for the department, said the recommendations include limiting GMP's recovery of capital expenditures in rates and affording enough discretion for "the company's management to determine which capital projects are necessary within its overall capital spending limit."

Kristin Carlson, the spokeswoman for Green Mountain Power, said the utility has the second lowest rates in New England and the proposed rate increase is "a look ahead at what we believe is necessary to meet our promise to our customers to maintain our system and invest in the future."

"Our customers know and expect us to always work hard to deliver the most cost effective, reliable power possible, while still making critical investments in clean energy and innovation to help them use less energy and reduce costs further," Carlson said in a statement. "This work is essential to meet our shared energy goals. Today's filing is the next step in the regulatory process and we look forward to working with regulators and stakeholders as the process moves forward."

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