N.H. business group starts campaign to lower electricity costs

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire has started a campaign to focus attention on lowering electricity costs in the state.

It's called "EnergizeNH."

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that New Hampshire's electrical energy prices are 60 percent higher than the national average.

The state Public Utilities Commission reported the New England region paid $2 billion more for electricity last winter and nearly $5 billion more the winter before that. Supply and demand were roughly in balance during the winter of 2011-2012.

BIA President Jim Roche says businesses continue to experience excessive electrical energy prices due to supply constraints. He says even with news that this winter's rate spike may not be as big as in recent years, the regional electric rate disparity remains a long-term, persistent challenge.

"Up to now BIA worried about lost job growth and economic vigor as companies expanded operations elsewhere," Roche said. "Our electrical energy crisis presents a bleaker scenario — businesses moving existing operations and jobs from New Hampshire to lower cost states and countries. We need balanced energy solutions, including energy conservation and renewables, but we can't ignore the urgent need for additional electric transmission and gas pipeline infrastructure."

The campaign will not take positions for or against specific energy projects, but will work to raise awareness through print, broadcast, online efforts and educational forums about the need for solutions.

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