AGA Survey and Statistics System; AGA-CEE Natural Gas Efficiency Programs Survey: Utility expenditures for gas efficiency programs exclude data that have not been released by participating companies at the state level; U.S. Energy Information Administration; and U.S. Department of Transportation.
Statewide Elected Officials Next Election: 2018
Chris Sununu (Rep.)Governor
Bill Gardner (Dem.)Secretary of State
Joseph Foster (Dem.) Attorney General
Legislature Next Election: 2018Session Dates: 01/06/16-07/01/16
Term: 2 year
President: Chuck Morse
President Pro Tempore: Sharon Carson
Senate Majority Leader: Jeb Bradley
Senate Minority Leader: Jeff Woodburn
Senate Member Breakdown
House of Representatives
Term: 2 year
Speaker of the House: Shawn Jasper
Majority Leader: Richard Hinch
Minority Leader: Steve Shurtleff
House of Representatives Member Breakdown
New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission Commissioners: Gubernatorial appointment : 6 year termChairperson: Gubernatorial appointment : 6 year term
Kate Bailey, Commissioner Appointed by Governor Maggie Hassan in 2015; term ends in 2021
Robert Scott (R), Commissioner Appointed by Governor John Lynch in 2012; term ends in 2017
Martin Honigberg, Chairman Appointed by Governor Maggie Hassan in 2014; term ends in 2019
Unitil features CHP as part of its Energy Efficiency program.
Legislation passed in 2013 directing the Office of Energy and Planning to provide forward-looking guidance on electric, natural gas and thermal energy strategies.
Stakeholder groups began meeting in late 2013 to begin that effort.
In her State of State Address, Governor Maggie Hassan mentioned the following:
Hassan stated that businesses, families and seniors need access to reliable and affordable energy in order to continue to grow and prosper. She also stated that they must work to increase the focus on conservation and energy efficiency in order to protect natural resources and lower costs and to diversify energy sources so that the state is not overly reliant on any one source. She announced that stakeholders in New Hampshire will work over the course of the next year to develop a long-term energy strategy in order to reduce costs, create jobs and improve energy reliability and diversity. As that plan is being developed, she urged additional steps to reduce energy costs including expanding natural gas pipeline capacity for the region. She touted the New England Governors Regional Energy Initiative as a way to prioritize adding natural gas capacity, stating that the collaborative effort is already making progress.
Released in September 2014, the New Hampshire Energy Strategy contains the following goals and recommendations: Sub‐Recommendation 13.A: CONVERT CUSTOMERS WITH EXISTING ACCESS TO NATURAL GAS Rationale and summary: Natural gas currently offers considerable cost savings as compared to other fuels, and also burns more cleanly than fuel oil, providing local and global air quality benefits. Focusing on distribution‐side efforts, the State should work to fully utilize the capacity of existing gas pipelines. This can reduce heating costs for customers and keep more dollars in state in the short term – dollars that can then be invested in efficiency and renewable energy for long‐term sustainability. One tool that may be particularly effective in driving conversions for on‐main customers is to provide financing for efficient gas furnaces. While the State currently offers rebates for high‐efficiency furnaces, they cover only a small portion of the cost of a new system, and consumers may have difficulty obtaining capital for the remaining cost. Offering financing programs could help more customers benefit from heating system upgrades. Design Considerations: As with any fuel, it is critical to ensure that it is being used as efficiently as possible, and any gas conversion programs should be carefully paired with efficiency programs.
Additionally, in 2015 the New Hampshire General Court will consider enabling legislation to implement the strategy. Of note, the legislation directs the public utility commission to develop a framework for the implementation of decoupling for gas and electric utilities and present it to the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee no later than October 1, 2015.
Northern Utilities d/b/a Unitil received approval in 1993 for a pilot demand-side management program (DSM). KeySpan (now Liberty Utilities), received approval for its natural gas DSM program in in 1994. These programs were offered through 1999, at which point they were suspended in light of the state’s restructuring of the natural gas industry.
On June 24, 2002, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued an Order of Notice to investigate whether or not it would be in the public interest to re-institute demand-side management or energy efficiency programs by New Hampshire’s two natural gas utilities, Northern Utilities and KeySpan. On December 31, 2002, the PUC issued Order No. 24,109, which approved the Initial plans of Northern Utilities and KeySpan. Northern Utilities’ Plan was slightly modified and approved by settlement in Docket No. DG 06-036 with Order No. 24,630(2006).
In 2010, New Hampshire’s gas and electric utilities filed coordinated two year energy efficiency programs for the first time. The PUC approved these plans in Order No. 25,189 on December 30, 2010. On February 1, 2013, the PUC approved the gas and electric utilities CORE energy efficiency programs for 2013 and 2014 with Order No. 25,462 in Docket No. DE 12-262. A secretary letter was issued in December of 2012 to allow the utilities to continue funding their EE programs while this order was finalized.
New Hampshire’s gas utility energy efficiency programs are funded through the Local Distribution Adjustment Charge (LDAC).
New Hampshire gas utilities can earn performance incentives of 8–12% of their total program budgets for meeting cost-effectiveness and energy savings goals. This was approved in Order No. 23,574 in 2000.
On December 10, 2014, Rep. Shattuck (D) filed a bill relating to tax incentives for expanding the state's natural gas distribution system.
Under this bill, upon application by a qualifying business organization engaged in the expansion of natural gas distribution systems in the state, the commissioner shall grant a deferral of the payment of all taxes under this chapter for a 5-year period. The deferral shall be for the tax due each year during the 5-year period and for interest accrued at 5 percent annually on the amount due. This bill died by voice vote on March 11, 2015.
On October 9, 2015, Liberty Utilities filed an application with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission seeking permission to expand its natural gas franchise to include the towns of Jaffrey, Rindge, Swanzey and Winchester. Under this proposal the Company would install gas mains and service lines to the initial anchor customers and lead residential and commercial customers. Such construction will include installation of plastic gas mains and service lines, which will be designed and sized appropriately to support the initial customer base, as well as expected growth from customers requesting service during or following construction. Costs of expansion would be spread across Liberty’s customer base. New and existing customers will be charged the same rates. This matter is presently pending.
Liberty also has plans to introduce natural gas service in several other populated areas of the state, including Keene, Windham, Pelham, Lebanon and Hanover.
Energy North (now Liberty Utilities) established a Cast Iron Bare Steel (CIBS) Replacement Program as part of the National Grid/KeySpan merger settlement agreement approved by the Commission in Order No. 24,777 on July 12, 2007, in Docket No. DG 06-107.
In, 2009 National Grid (now Liberty Utilities) proposed to modify its annual CIBS rate adjustment mechanism to include public works projects and to eliminate the $0.5 million annual threshold required prior to cost recovery. In a March 2011 settlement, the New Hampshire PUC called for the CIBS rate adjustment mechanism, as it was originally structured, to remain in effect.
As part of a rate case decided in 2011, Liberty Utilities had requested a revenue decoupling mechanism; however, the PUC adopted a settlement in the proceeding that did not include such a mechanism.
In February of 2015, the New Hampshire legislature took up House Bill 614-FN. The bill provides that the public utilities commission shall develop a framework for the implementation of decoupling for gas and electric utilities. A report on this framework shall be presented to the house science, technology and energy committee for their consideration no later than October 1, 2015. This legislation is currently pending.
On June 12, 2015, Gov. Margaret Hassan (D) signed into law SB 60, which establishes a commission to investigate the implementation of decoupling for New Hampshire's electric and gas utilities.