The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has issued preliminary guidelines for a pilot program to examine the implications of retail competition in the electric industry. The guidelines, which respond to a state law mandating creation of a retail competition pilot, propose opening 3 percent of each electric utility's peak load to competitive suppliers of electric power. The load subject to the program would total 60 megawatts statewide and would be allocated proportionately among all customer classes, including residential customers.
To "move the pilot forward," the PUC proposed an even split of stranded costs between participating customers and shareholders. Full recovery was deemed unjustified inasmuch as utilities are free to seek rates of return that reflect the risk of competition and uneconomic investment. Further, the PUC found that full recovery was "incompatible with a transition to competitive markets" and could increase the delivered price of power above market levels, making the pilot's success unlikely.