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October 27, 2020

Versant Power begins $5M rate relief effort for low-income customers

versant worker on a power line COURTESY / VERSANT POWER Versant Power, formerly Emera Maine, supplies power to more than 159,000 residential, commercial and residential customers in eastern and northern Maine.

Versant Power, formerly Emera Maine, said Monday that it is beginning to distribute $5 million in relief to low-income customers in northern and eastern Maine.

A spokesperson told Mainebiz that the financial help comes in addition to more than $8 million in distribution-rate relief to Versant customers announced in August

Emera Maine was rebranded as Versant after being acquired earlier this year by Calgary, Alberta-based energy company ENMAX Corp. for $1.3 billion.

Versant supplies power to more than 159,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers across 10,400 square miles in five counties in eastern and northern Maine.

Working with the Maine State Housing Authority and in cooperation with the Office of Public Advocate, Versant said Monday that it will ensure all customers eligible for the 2020 federal Home Energy Assistance Program will receive a $350 credit on their electricity bills. 

Customers of neighboring electric utilities are to receive their credit directly from their utility.

Customers who did not seek assistance during the 2020 sign-up period but may be eligible in the coming year are encouraged to apply for assistance through their local Community Action Program or tribal organization. Newly eligible customers will receive a similar electricity bill credit at some point during the 2021 program year until the funds have been exhausted.

Versant said the additional rate relief is being offered as a direct benefit of its acquisition by ENMAX.

When the $8 million in distribution-rate relief was announced in March, the company said that a typical residential customer, using 500 kilowatt-hours per month, would see a decrease of more than $8 per month on household electricity bills.

Versant also said at that time that commercial customers would see the portion of their electricity bills for distribution costs decrease at least 17%, depending on rate class, while customers will receive a share of funds in the form of a one-time payment.

Emera Maine was formed in 2010 from the merger of Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service Co., both of which were subsidiaries of Halifax, Nova Scotia-based utility holding company Emera Inc.

The company's name change was required under terms of its deal with ENMAX.

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