EAST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Participation in a New Hampshire electricity deregulation pilot has given Shaw's Supermarkets here valuable insights into a wide range of critical issues that will become paramount when the state completely deregulates its electricity market, scheduled to begin July 1.
With federal moves to deregulate the nation's $208 billion electric power industry stalled, state efforts have moved to the forefront. New Hampshire is one of 15 states that have already acted to establish retail competition among utilities in the next five years.
Estimates of potential energy savings for retailers in a deregulated environment range from 24% to 60%, according to industry observers. In a deregulated market, customers find the best price for energy and purchase it from the provider of their choice.
The two-year pilot program, which began in May 1996, gave electricity customers the opportunity to reduce their energy bills 10% to 20%, according to the Public Utilities Commission of New Hampshire, Concord, N.H. Shaw's did not comment on specific savings it achieved during the program.
Shaw's Seabrook, N.H., store, one of 21 units in New Hampshire, is participating in the deregulation pilot, said Bernie Rogan, spokesman for Shaw's Supermarkets.
"Only through this pilot has Shaw's been able to understand deregulation on a reality basis," said Rogan. Participation "schooled us for when the program becomes an across-the-board reality throughout New England.