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National Grid proposes double-digit rate hikes for electricity and natural gas

(file photo) National Grid Truck
National Grid
(file photo) National Grid Truck

National Grid has proposed double-digit rate hikes for both electricity and natural gas customers.

The proposal before the New York Public Service Commission would increase electric rates for the average National Grid customer by about 15% and by about 20% for gas customers.

The utility said that would work out to an increase of approximately $19 monthly for the average residential electricity customer and around $18 a month for the average natural gas customer.

National Grid said in a statement released this week that it needs to make critical investments to ensure reliability of its infrastructure and also wants to invest in preparing its networks for the transition that will rely more heavily on clean energy sources.

The company said that it shaped the filing after conducting listening sessions with customers, environmental justice advocates and other key stakeholders.Watching this rate case carefully is the Public Utility Law Project, a non-profit that works to educate and advocate on behalf of the state’s low-income utility customers.

Its Executive Director and General Counsel, Laurie Wheelock, said that organization wants to make sure the cost of these various programs are spread fairly, especially because inflation is already hurting many New Yorkers.

“We are living in these difficult times where inflation, rising costs, labor or things of that nature; but we do have the utilities looking at the need to strengthen the grid, do capital investments, we have to meet our clean energy goals,” said Wheelock.

Wheelock said that her organization will be doing a deep dive into the rate request over the next year.

“It comes down to what is just unreasonable and what people should be paying,” said Wheelock, "so we're looking forward to getting in there, kind of rolling up our sleeves, to look at these numbers, because people are already having to do more with less. And ultimately, these utilities probably should be looking to do more with less as well.”

The New York General Counsel for National Grid, Phil DeCicco, released a statement saying that while the company has “made every effort to moderate the proposals and resulting bill impacts,” it is interested in exploring a multi-year rate plan that would allow the company to manage utility bills over multiple years.

The recent filing by National Grid includes a one-year proposal along with data for potentially three additional years. The company said if a settlement is reached that spreads cost increases over four years, for example, that could reduce the first-year energy delivery price impacts by more than half.

National Grid said its plan would also increase customer assistance and energy affordability programs for customers having difficulty managing their energy costs.

National Grid, whose territory includes parts of Monroe, Livingston, Genesee and Orleans counties, is planning to implement a new pricing structure in the spring of 2025.

Wheelock, of the Public Utility Law Project, also is encouraging National Grid customers to submit comments to the Public Service Commission about the rate hike request.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.