Solar Industry News

Maine Utility Offers Decreased Electric Rate for Heat Pumps: A Brief Overview

CMP customers with home electrification products, such as seasonal heat pumps and electric vehicle (EV) chargers, can now take advantage of lower electric rate options for these products. These rate offers, which were approved by the Maine Public Utility Commission in Fall 2022, have gone into effect as of January 1, 2023. They are an encouraging indication of the widespread adoption of fossil-fuel replacing technology, and the growing economic structures incentivizing electrification across New England. 

CMP’s new Transmission and Distribution (T&D) rates include the Seasonal Heat Pump Rate and the Electric Technology Rate. These two programs are a great way for certain CMP customers to take advantage of savings from heat pumps and other home electrification products. There are nuances to these programs that make them a better option for some CMP customers than others. If you produce most of your own energy via solar panels, these rates may not be beneficial - due to their minimum monthly charge.  

Read our overview below and contact CMP’s support team for further details.  

Seasonal Heat Pump Rate 

The Seasonal Heat Pump Rate is available to households planning to install, or already owning, air source heat pumps. It is only available to the first 5,000 customers who enroll. Our team estimates this rate can reduce homeowner’s annual electric bills by 10-20%; however, your heat pump usage must be primarily for heating in the winter for the rate to benefit you. We recommend at least a 70:30 ratio for winter to summer usage (we explain why below) for this rate to benefit you.  

Efficiency Maine offers a calculator that estimates how much you could save annually. 

How does the decreased rate work? 

The Seasonal Heatheat pumps in snow storm.png Pump Rate lowers the cost of electricity for homeowners with heat pumps, thanks to a lower Delivery rate. (Electric rates are comprised of two portions: the “Delivery” cost of transmitting energy to your home, and the “Supply” cost of generating electricity at the power plant. This program only provides savings on the Delivery portion of the electricity rate.) 

As a countermeasure to increased heating costs in the winter, the Heat Pump Rate offers a significantly lower Delivery rate than the regular electric rate in the winter months (November through April). In the summer the delivery rate is higher than the regular one, which is why we recommend this special rate to those who mainly use their heat pumps in the winter.  

The Heat Pump rate includes a higher monthly service charge than CMP’s regular rate.  

Who can benefit from this program? 

If you don’t have solar and run your heat pumps all winter long, these rates are a great saving option and give you a taste of that sweet reduced electric rate. If you do have solar on your property or through a Community Solar Farm, you’re already producing your own sun-powered energy for less, and won’t benefit from this program - due to the increased service charge. 

If you don’t currently have enough solar at your home to fully cover the cost of running your heat pump in the winter, a clever investment would be to sign up for a Community Solar Farm (CSF) share that is large enough to cover any additional electric load. That way you can achieve lower electric rates all year round, without having to join CMP's program.  

community solar farm.png

What are the requirements? 
  • You must be a CMP customer.
  • You will need to prove that you have a heat pump or are scheduled to install one at your home.
  • You will have to remain enrolled in the program for at least 12 months. If you opt out, you will not be able to reenroll for another 12 months.

For more information and sign-up, visit CMP’s page about the Seasonal Heat Pump Rate. 

EV charging home.pngElectric Technology Rate 

The Electric Technology Rate supports the adoption of new home electrification products like heat pumps, EVs and EV chargers. There is no limit on how many customers can enroll in this program. 

Unlike the Heat Pump Rate, the Electric Technology Rate offers a year-round decreased Delivery rate. There is, however, an increased service charge. Like the heat pump rate, this rate is not beneficial if you already produce most or all your electricity with solar. 

For more information, visit CMP’s page about the Electric Technology Rate, which includes a calculator that estimates how much you could save.