Four electric distribution companies operate in New Hampshire, each serving a mutually exclusive franchise territory. They include: Eversource Energy (Eversource) (formerly PSNH), Liberty Utilities (Liberty) (formerly National Grid and Granite State Electric Company), Unitil Energy Systems, Inc. (UES) (formerly Concord Electric Company and Exeter and Hampton Electric Company), and the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NHEC).
In 1996, the New Hampshire Legislature enacted RSA 374-F, a statute which directed the Public Utilities Commission (the Commission) to develop a statewide restructuring plan to implement electric retail choice for all customers by January 1, 1998. The Commission issued a restructuring plan in February 1997, although its implementation was slowed by subsequent litigation that constrained the Commission to consider only voluntary filings of settlement agreements or compliance plans. As a result, electric utilities in New Hampshire restructured at different times and in somewhat different ways.
Granite State Electric Company, now Liberty was the first electric utility to restructure, doing so in August 1998. PSNH, now Eversource, followed in May 2001. The UES companies, which merged in December of 2002, introduced retail choice as of May 1, 2003. Although competitive suppliers are welcome to provide service in restructured franchise areas, most residential customers receive Default Energy Service.
Eversource, a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, serves approximately 70 percent of the retail customers in New Hampshire. The company serves geographically and demographically diverse areas, ranging from urban, southern areas to rural, northern areas of the state. Eversource, which as PSNH sold its share of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Facility in December 2002 in compliance with RSA 369-B and the PSNH Restructuring Settlement Agreement, still owns fossil and hydropower facilities. In January 2004, Eversource, then PSNH, acquired Connecticut Valley Electric Company (CVEC). See Order No. 24,176. CVEC, which operated in the western region of the state, served approximately 2 percent of the retail customers in New Hampshire. CVEC’s customers became customers of PSNH, now Eversource, and now pay the same rates as other Eversource customers. Following the completion of the acquisition, CVEC and Central Vermont Public Service Company (CVPS) withdrew their claims in Federal court and at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), thus resolving all remaining restructuring-related litigation.
Liberty, whose franchise territory includes western and southern areas of the state, serves approximately 6 percent of the retail customers in New Hampshire. With the completion of a transfer of ownership in mid-2012, GSEC (formerly a subsidiary of National Grid) became a subsidiary of Liberty Utilities.
UES, a subsidiary of Unitil Corporation, was formed when Unitil consolidated two former subsidiaries, Concord Electric Company, and Exeter and Hampton Electric Company. On a combined basis, these companies serve approximately 11 percent of New Hampshire’s retail customers in both the Seacoast and Capital areas.
NHEC provides electric service to about 11 percent
of retail customers throughout the central part of New