CONCORD, N.H. — There’s some good news for some New Hampshire residents: The cost of energy is finally coming down after it skyrocketed to historic highs this past winter.
Eversource is proposing a new rate of 12.6 cents per kilowatt hour starting in August, the company announced on Thursday — a 38 percent decrease from the current rate of 20.2 cents per kilowatt hour. That rate has to be approved by state regulators before it’s finalized, but it would save the average household about $46 per month.
Eversource is the state’s largest utility, but it isn’t the only company lowering its energy prices. Unitil’s new rates would be 13.25 cents per kilowatt hour, almost half of its current 25.9 cents rate.
Those high prices were driven by the high cost of natural gas, at a time when the global market was volatile in the wake of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. New England is very reliant on natural gas for both electricity and heat, making the region extra sensitive to fluctuations in price.
Now the cost of natural gas has come down, and that’s translating into lower energy prices here.
“With the unprecedented volatility in the energy markets hitting our customers hard in the last year, we’re pleased to let them know that some relief is coming with the new supply rate in August,” Penni Conner, Eversource’s executive vice president for Customer Experience and Energy Strategy, said in a statement.
But she warned that New Hampshire customers use about 25 percent more energy in the summer months than they do in the winter, with air conditioning, fans, and appliances working hard to keep buildings cool. She urged customers to pursue efficiency measures to keep energy use down.
Conner said the market remains volatile and costs will likely go up again in the future. Electricity rates tend to be more expensive in the winter, when fuels are in higher demand for home heating.
Sam Evans-Brown, the executive director of Clean Energy New Hampshire, said the mild winter helped bring down the price of natural gas.
“We had a very mild winter not only in New Hampshire and the Northeast, but in Europe as well,” he said. That allowed natural gas storage to fill up. And after a cold snap in February, Evans-Brown said the cost of natural gas tanked.
Moving forward, Evans-Brown said Europe is expected to keep trying to wean itself off of natural gas from Russia. They are preparing to import more liquefied natural gas at the same time the United States is preparing to export more of it.
“Generally speaking, we’re expecting natural gas prices to never be as low as they were following the fracking boom,” Evans-Brown said. “We’ll probably never see default rates as low as they were following COVID, like down around 6 cents. That’s probably a thing of the past.”
But, he said, going back to 20 cents also seems unlikely anytime soon.
“I do think it’s okay to breathe a sigh of relief,” he said.