A new analysis of energy costs paid by Granite Staters puts New Hampshire at number nine in the nation for the highest out-of-pocket expenses. When it comes to home heating oil — used by more than 40 percent of the state’s population — New Hampshire ranks sixth in the high-cost rankings and number five for the price per gallon consumers pay.
“To better understand the impact of energy on our finances relative to our location and consumption habits, WalletHub compared the total monthly energy bills in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Our analysis uses a special formula that accounts for the following residential energy types: electricity, natural gas, motor fuel, and home heating oil.”
Granite Staters pay an average of $551 for energy costs each year, compared to New Mexico and Texas, where residents pay around $380 per year.
Energy costs were part of the debate in Concord during the final days of the legislative session. For example, legislators passed HB 142, which continues subsidies to the Burgess biomass power plant. If Gov. Chris Sununu allows it to become law, “more than $50 million ratepayers overpaid to subsidize this plant, and which are supposed to be returned to ratepayers, will be forgiven,” Drew Cline at the Josiah Bartlett Center wrote.
TOTAL ENERGY COSTS BY STATE
Republicans in the legislature say they have been pushing for energy policy to drive down costs while their Democratic counterparts have been trying to push prices higher.
“Our state reduced government influence this year in energy markets because such interference increases, not decreases, costs,” said Rep. Michael Vose (R-Epping), chair of the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee.
“The legislature will attempt to continue to chip away at bureaucratic and administrative red tape. A recent study by the Energy Institute reported that between 2012-2022 world fossil fuel growth outstripped record increases in renewable energy by 2-5 times, depending on the category.
“The continued worldwide demand for oil, gas, and coal occurred in spite of $6.4 trillion in spending on renewables. That spending did not replace demand for traditional fuels but merely increased the costs of everyone’s energy bill,” Vose added.
Democrats on the House Energy Committee did not respond to requests for comment.
Recent spikes in energy costs sent utility bills soaring. Between April 2022 and 2023, New Hampshire’s electricity rates rose by more than 33 percent. Advocates for aggressive climate change policies have argued that fossil-fuel-generated electricity prices need to increase in order to make power from wind and solar more competitive. The same is true for heating oil and propane costs.
“We defeated bills to impose California emissions standards on New Hampshire autos,” Vose said of Democratic energy policy proposals in the House. “They also wanted to create a climate action plan and associated bureaucracy with mandated emissions reduction goals and an increase in RPS solar subsidies of half a billion dollars over 10 years.”
There is, however, good news as global energy costs moderate. The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) announced last week “the second consecutive rate cut in a year for most NHEC members.”
“Beginning August 1, the rate change will result in an overall bill decrease of 7 percent (or $10.03 per month) for the typical member using 500 kWh of electricity per month. The typical 1,000 kWh member will see a total bill decrease of 8 percent ($20.27 per month),” NHEC reports.
“One of the best things an electric cooperative can do for its members and communities is to keep electric rates affordable,” said NHEC President and CEO Alyssa Clemsen Roberts. “That’s been a challenge in New Hampshire recently, and we’re very pleased to be able to offer another rate decrease to our members.”