BOSTON (WBZNewsRadio) - Winter just got more expensive for National Grid customers, the company announced a 64 percent increase in electric bills starting November 1st.
There are approximately 1.3 million National Grid customers in Massachusetts.
In a press release, the company said natural gas prices are expected to be significantly higher this year due to "global conflict, inflation and high demand,"
The utility company said, in total, the monthly bill of a typical residential electric customer using 600 kWh will increase from $179 in the winter 2021-2022 season, to approximately $293 for the winter of the 2022-2023 season.
Another contributor of the price hike is the system in which National Grid buys electricity using a regulatory approved process established two decades ago. The company says that process has served customers well over the years, providing flexibility for unforeseen events, 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.” Helen Burt, National Grid's Chief Customer Officer said.
When it comes to natural gas, rates are also expected to rise about 22 percent this winter. The utility said similar to electric, National Grid does not profit from gas supply costs, instead customers pay what the company pays for natural gas supply.
"The company has a pending proposal with the Department of Public Utilities that would result in a monthly bill for an average Boston Gas residential heating customer using 115 therms per month of $278, an increase of $50, or 22 percent, compared to rates last winter. For an average Colonial Gas residential heating customer using 107 therms per month, the typical bill would be $241, an increase of $47, or 24 percent, compared to rates last winter." The company wrote in a release.
WBZ's Nichole Davis spoke to Burt, who said the utility company understands no one wants to see their energy bill rise, especially in challenging economic times, so they're launching the Winter Customer Savings Initiative to help customers.
"Our intention is to bring every tool we have and everything we can think of to the table to help customers easily and quickly to figure out what their options are." Burt said.
These tools include everything from payment plans and assistance for income-eligible customers to shopping for different suppliers and informing customers of advantageous energy saving programs, including those supported by Mass Save.
"We believe helping customers take more control over how and what energy they use creates a more equitable and affordable energy future." Burt said.
Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, said her office was meeting with local utility companies, regulators and customer groups to look for ways to help customers deal with the added costs.
"National Grid’s rate hike will be devastating for hundreds of thousands of customers in Massachusetts who simply cannot afford it," a representative for the AG said in a statement. "We urge the DPU to find ways to lessen the impact on energy bills and find long term solutions to prevent customers from seeing rates like these ever again. Our office is exploring all possible options to alleviate this burden and help customers pay their bills this winter."
WBZ's Nichole Davis (@NicholeDWBZ) reports