SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Eversource's electric customers throughout western Massachusetts could see their bills increase this winter.

The cost of electricity is going up starting January 1,

There are two parts to every electric bill - the supply rate and the delivery rate - and it's the supply price that's going up.

Compared to last winter, the new rate will equate to an increase of about $13 per month.

Eversource's supply rate for electricity is going up more than one cent per kilowatt hour, compared to last winter, and even higher when compared to summer when electricity rates are annually lower.

Western Mass News did the math. If last winter, the average house paid $121 per month, this winter, you can expect a bill closer to $136 every 30 days.

"We go out to those generators on behalf of our customers who are on that basic service rate. We go and we purchase electricity on their behalf and it's a pass-through," said Eversource spokesperson Priscilla Ress.

Since Eversource doesn't generate its own electricity, Ress said that their rate is based on what they can buy from generators.

"We take the lowest bid and we take it to the Department of Public Utilities. DPU says yes indeed. This is the lowest rate that you can get for your customers," Ress explained.

Ress said sometimes, that lowest rate they can find just isn't low enough for the generators that use natural gas to create electricity.

"There isn't the pipeline capacity that there is another part of the country, so without that gas pipeline capacity, the cost of generating electricity becomes more expensive because the power generators will use other forms of fuel to create electricity, those are more expensive fuels to create electricity," Ress noted.

Ress said the best thing consumers can do is monitor their own energy use. She recommended homeowners get a home energy audit. Those are free in the state of Massachusetts and determine how a person can better economize the use of energy in their home.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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