Company Requests Update to Distribution Rates for First Time in 5 Years
PROVIDENCE, RI –To meet the energy needs of its customers, National Grid has filed a proposal with the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (RIPUC) to update its base distribution rates for electric and gas customers for the first time since 2012. If approved, the revised rates would allow the Company to continue to improve service quality, deliver the safety and reliability our customers rely on, and pursue new initiatives focused on renewable energy, modernizing the grid, and helping income-eligible customers.
“National Grid is proud to deliver the energy needs of 267,000 gas customers and 492,000 electricity customers in Rhode Island,” said Tim Horan, president and COO of National Grid in Rhode Island. “The proposal we put forth today will allow us to continue delivering energy to them in the safe, reliable, and efficient way customers deserve. It also reflects the shared goals we have with the State of Rhode Island in promoting more renewable forms of energy, providing greater assistance to income-eligible customers, and modernizing the State’s energy network.”
National Grid recovers the cost of doing business through its base distribution rates. This proposal would update National Grid’s pricing to reflect the current costs associated with running the core business, including property taxes, healthcare, labor, and equipment. Over the past five years, National Grid has invested $800 million in gas and electric distribution infrastructure to help improve the safety and reliability of Rhode Island’s energy infrastructure.
Currently, National Grid’s residential customers in Rhode Island have some of the lowest electric distribution charges in the region, which the Company hopes to maintain. If approved, residential electricity customers would see a monthly bill increase of 6 percent, while commercial and industrial electricity customers’ monthly bill impacts would range from 3 percent to 9 percent depending on customer size and usage. The rate increase would include $41.3 million to support operations and new initiatives in National Grid’s electric business in Rhode Island.
On the gas side, the annual bill impact for the average residential heating customer would be closer to 5 percent, while commercial and industrial customers’ annual bill impact would range from 1 to 6 percent. The rate increase would include $30.3 million to support operations and new initiatives in National Grid’s gas business in Rhode Island.
An income-eligible customer using the average 500 kWh/month on the electric side would see a decrease in their bill of 3 percent. On the gas side, an income-eligible heating customer using an average of 845 therms/year would see a 6 percent decrease on their bill.
National Grid’s proposal starts and ends with the customer in mind. It includes workforce expansion initiatives on the electric side to support increasing distributed generation interconnection and on the gas side to support gas pipeline safety. Upgrades for cybersecurity and IT modernization, as well as programs to support Governor Gina Raimondo’s call for the Power Sector Transformation Initiative are also key elements of the filing.
This proposal will now undergo a thorough review process by the Public Utilities Commission, expected to last nine months, and allowing multiple opportunities for public comment. Any approved rates would not be effective until September 1, 2018.
How Can Customers Lower Bills?
National Grid encourages customers to take advantage of payment options, assistance, and energy efficiency programs. Customers can learn more about these at www.ngrid.com/billhelp or contact National Grid at 800-322-3223 or contact their local energy assistance agency, Community Action Agency or state department of social services.