November 20, 2014 – National Grid has filed proposed new electricity supply rates with the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission. The company’s electric customers will see a significant increase in their bills due to higher power supply prices (the cost of the electricity National Grid buys for customers and passes on without a mark up). Starting in January, a typical residential customer will see an electric bill that is approximately 23.6 percent higher than last January for the same amount of electricity used.
Gas rates, which went into effect on November 1 and are scheduled to be in effect through October of 2015, will average 8.3 percent lower than rates in effect during the previous twelve-month period. But using more natural gas for home heating as the weather cools down means that gas bills will rise for most customers as they do every winter.
“National Grid is very concerned about what higher energy costs mean for our customers,” said Rhode Island National Grid President Timothy Horan. “We can’t control power supply prices, but we can help our customers in other ways, which is why we urge Rhode Island residents to take full advantage of energy efficiency and payment programs that can help lower their bills.”
A typical residential Standard Offer Service customer using 500 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month will see an increase of $20.83, or about 23.6 percent, on monthly bills beginning in January as compared to January of 2014. The section of electric bills where customers will see the majority of the difference is called Supply Services.
This section of the bill represents the cost of the electricity the company purchases on behalf of customers and passes on without a mark up.
With about half of New England’s electricity generation now fueled by natural gas, electric commodity prices have risen again this winter because of continued constraints on the natural gas pipelines serving the region, which decrease natural gas availability at times of peak demand, causing some generators to buy gas on the spot market at higher prices, switch over to alternate fuels or not run at all.
Natural Gas Rates
In the twelve month period running from November 1, 2014 through October 31, 2015 a typical residential natural gas customer will see an annual decrease of approximately $110. The majority of this decrease is due to a credit National Grid is passing on to customers through reduced delivery charges. This credit is driven by last winter’s colder-than-normal weather, when National Grid customers used more gas than forecasted. As a pipes-and-wires company, National Grid does not make more money when customers use more gas or electricity, so when customers consume more than forecasted, the company refunds that excess the next year. Natural gas is also transported via interstate pipelines into New England and can be liquefied or stored in preparation for the winter heating season, making prices less volatile. Electricity, on the other hand, cannot be stored on a large scale and must be generated as it is needed.
How Can You Lower Your Bills?
There are steps customers can take now to help manage their energy costs this winter. National Grid has a three decade history of helping New England customers realize energy savings through energy efficiency programs. The company encourages customers to learn about energy efficiency, savings tips and much more here. Lowering a thermostat between six and nine degrees when sleeping, for example, can save up to 10 percent per year on heating costs. National Grid also offers incentives that cover a wide variety of energy efficient home equipment including programmable thermostats and high-efficiency natural gas heating furnaces or boilers, which could mean savings of up to 30 percent off energy bills.
Billing options and discount rates also are available to help eligible customers who may have difficulty paying their monthly gas or electric bill. National Grid offers programs to help customers spread payments out more evenly across the year, which are particularly helpful to those on fixed incomes. Discounted rates have certain eligibility requirements. For more information about the availability of these rates, customers should contact National Grid at 800-322-3223. Customers can also learn more about billing and payment options at www.ngrid.com/billhelp . Local initiatives, such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), community action agencies and services provided by the RI Department of Human Services can also help customers who need help with their bills. Another option for customers is to choose an alternative energy supplier to purchase power supply on their behalf. A list of competitive suppliers is available at the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission website.
About National Grid
National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE:NGG) is an electricity and gas company that connects consumers to energy sources through its networks. The company is at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society - to create new, sustainable energy solutions for the future and developing an energy system that underpins economic prosperity in the 21st century. National Grid holds a vital position at the center of the energy system and it ‘joins everything up’.
In the northeast US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles. In Great Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.
National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
For more information please visit our website: www.nationalgridus.com