Versant Power will lower its rates in 2021. Credit: Nina Mahaleris / BDN

Residential and business customers of Versant Power will pay lower rates for their electricity supply in 2021, the Maine Public Utilities Commission said Tuesday.

The decrease amounts to a 10 percent reduction in the electricity supply portion of their electric bill. The total bill for residential customers averaging 500 kilowatt hours of electricity use monthly will be down 3.6 percent, or a monthly savings of $3.41 and a yearly savings of $40.95. A monthly bill of $94.08 would decrease to $90.67 a month.

Versant, formerly Emera Maine, serves about 159,000 customers in northern and eastern Maine. Medium-sized businesses will see an average decrease of 12 percent for the supply portion of their bill. A medium-sized business using 20,000 kilowatt hours per month of electricity would save about $2,000 annually, the commission said.

The rates declined under the commission’s competitive bidding process to set standard offer supply prices. The decreases reflect supply and demand conditions in New England and their impact on wholesale energy markets.

“We are pleased that prices have decreased again this year, as many Maine residents are finding it hard to make ends meet and businesses struggle to keep their doors open due to impacts of the pandemic,” commission Chairman Philip Bartlett said.

The decreases do not apply to customers who purchase their own electricity supply in the market. Those who do not purchase their own electricity will get the standard offer supply price by default.

The commission said multiple bidders submitted sealed proposals in its annual competitive process for setting the standard offer prices. The standard offer accounts for about 60 percent of sales in Versant Power’s service area and about 34 percent of a customer’s bill.

For Versant Power-Bangor Hydro District medium-sized business customers, the new prices vary by month, averaging 6.24 cents per kilowatt hour, an average 12 percent decrease annually in the supply portion of their bill. Prices for large customers will be indexed to market prices and set in advance of each month.

Large-sized customers in the Maine Public District will see a decrease from 8.5 cents per kilowatt hour to 7.9 cents per kilowatt hour, a decrease of 6.1 percent in the supply portion of their bill.

The names of the suppliers selected for Versant Power will be released in two weeks after power supply arrangements are finalized.

Separately, Versant Power filed a request Tuesday with the commission to increase rates on the distribution part of the electric bill. As part of the company’s $1.3 billion acquisition by Canada’s ENMAX Corp., Versant Power agreed to keep distribution rates unchanged until October 2021. A company spokesperson said it is filing now because it takes time for the commission to consider a rate increase.