Oh, Canadian Electricity

Alighting upon this morning’s editorial in the Morning Sentinel, I was delighted to see a review of the governor’s Saturday Radio Address on electricity prices.

Thought to myself, “AVERAGE household bill of $84 month? Meaning as many residential households paying $100 as $65?”

I found this suspicious. My household’s bill is usually around $40.

Now, the governor has been known to stretch the truth a bit on occasion, but this one seemed pretty easy to check into.

So, to the data:

  • Maine average household electricity use: 521 kWh/month, according to the Maine Public Utilities Commission
  • Central Maine Power average price per kW: $0.1147
  • Average household cost should therefore be in the range of $59/month.

Montreal electricity prices are indeed very low; according to Hydro-Power Quebec’s data the governor’s statistic of $34/month seems correct.

Is $34/month something that could apply to Maine?

Very unlikely. As this morning’s Sentinel editorial points out, it is one thing to have a state-subsidized public hydopower generator and another to have to produce that privately. (Of course, if Gov. LePage is saying that Maine should subsidize our citizens’ electricity costs to the extent they do in Canada, bring it on, I say!)

Not that this degree of subsidy is consistent across Canada. Note that New Brunswick, which has a mix of power sources, has similar rates to Maine.

(Canadian energy use and production for the kids! by Canadian Geographic.)

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