Unitil shows how each dollar is spent
By Michael Hartwell, firstname.lastname@example.org
FITCHBURG -- Unitil spokesman Alec O'Meara provided a breakdown of how each dollar a customer spends on an electric bill is spent for Unitil customers.
"Is it the highest in Massachusetts, it might be. Is it the highest in New England, no," said O'Meara.
Of each dollar, 41 cents goes under electricity supply, which the company provides with no mark up. A further 5 cents pays for transmission of the electricity.
The next 6 cents go to energy efficiency and renewable resources funds as legislated by the state. Most of this money is given back to customers in the form of energy rebates, such as the $117,000 Fitchburg School District received this month for its new low-energy boiler systems.
Patrick Mehr of the Massachusetts Alliance for Municipal Electric Choice questioned this percentage, saying it sounds high and it's something MUNIs don't have to charge. O'Meara stood by the number.
Only 2 cents of each dollar pays for residential assistance, which goes toward the bills of other customers that have financial problems.
A full 13 cents of each dollar goes toward "transition charges," almost all of which pays for a biomass plant at the Westminster and Fitchburg line. O'Meara said 90 to 95 percent of that figure will be deleted from customer bills in 2014 when the Pinetree power plant is paid off.
The remaining 33 cents go toward running the company itself. That amount breaks down further, with 10 percent coming in as profits and 10 percent going to the investors. Each of those amounts is equal to 3.3 cents of the total bill.
Thirty-six percent goes to operating and maintenance expenses, which includes salaries and other forms of compensation; 4 percent for uncollectible costs; which is used for customers who don't pay; 8 percent in storm costs, 6 percent in property taxes, 6 percent in the companies income tax and the remaining 20 percent for the depreciation of equipment like power lines.