Eversource gas, National Grid electric customers could see increases in winter bills

Eversource and National Grid
Eversource and National Grid(Western Mass News / WFSB)
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 4:02 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Two of the state’s utility companies are alerting customers of the possibility of higher utility bills this winter.

Eversource said Wednesday that the price for natural gas is increasing with the approaching cold season because of global demand and domestic supply constraints. The company has filed a proposed natural gas supply rate with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities that, if approved, would take effect on November 1, 2022.

If the gas supply rate, along with other adjustments Eversource said are needed to “safely and reliably” operate the gas system, are approved, the average residential customer in a former Columbia Gas territory using 132 therms of gas a month would see an increase of approximately 25 precent, or $61 per month, over last winter. Those in a former NSTAR gas territory using 126 therms of gas per month would seen an increase of approximately 38 percent, or $86 per month, over last winter.

Eversource noted that the company does not earn a profit off the gas supply cost and only charges customers what it pays those who are producing the supply.

Eversource Executive Vice President for Customer Experience and Energy Strategy Penni Conner said in a statement:

“Heating homes during the winter months in New England is a necessity and as global pressures drive up the price of natural gas worldwide, we want to help our customers plan ahead to manage their energy use and overall cost as best we can before the cold weather arrives.”

Some of the ways Eversource customers can plan for the winter season include energy efficiency programs, a no-cost, no-obligation home energy assessment, budget billing, and low-income customers may be eligible for additional money and energy-saving offers.

Meanwhile, National Grid said Wednesday that electric customers will see an increase in their Basic Service rates starting on November 1. The company explained that the average residential electric customer using 600 kilowatt-hours a month will see an increase of 64 percent over last year - from $179 last winter to $293 this winter.

The increase, the company explained, was due to higher electric supply prices and prices for natural gas, which contributes to electricity costs, are higher this winter because of inflation, high demand, and global conflict.

To help offset the increase, National Grid indicated that they worked to keep the delivery portion of the bill essentially flat.

National Grid Chief Customer Officer Helen Burt said in a statement:

“National Grid buys electricity on behalf of its customers from the wholesale power market through a regulatory approved process established 20 years ago. That process has served customers well over the years and provides flexibility for unforeseen events, like limited supplier response to solicitations. But things have fundamentally changed.”

“Today, under a sustained, high market price environment, it is challenging to maintain affordable prices. Given that, we think it’s a good time to work with our regulators and other stakeholders to review the process and electricity supply dynamics in the region, with an eye toward reducing price volatility and maintaining a secure, reliable and resilient energy system for the future.”

Similar to Eversource, National Grid offers several resources to help with energy costs, including residential and commercial energy efficiency programs and incentives, low-cost and no-cost bill management solutions, payment programs, and payment assistance programs for income-eligible customers. They are also reaching out to customers about their Winter Customer Savings Initiative.