Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. has told the Maine Public Utilities Commission that it plans to request an increase of about 10 percent in the base rates it charges its customers. Such an increase would amount to about $5.50 a month for the typical residential customer.
Bangor Hydro is expected to file the request for a rate increase in mid-March. The Public Utilities Commission will decide if the rate increase is justified. Under the normal process followed by the PUC, the fate of the request would not be decided until the end of 1991.
“The slowdown in the economy means our sales are not growing,” said Robert S. Briggs, the utility’s president. “However, the growth in our operating expenses and our capital additions continues. We are controlling things as tightly as we can, but the bottom line is that, unlike other types of enterprises, we are obliged to stay in business.”
According to Briggs, it is important to maintain a competitive return on its capital if Bangor Hydro is to be able to attract necessary new capital at a reasonable cost.
“We do not have the option to respond to a recessionary economy by shrinking our business,” Briggs said. “We have to continue on. If the sales revenue is not there to provide additional revenue to support these activities, price increases are inevitable.”