ALBANY — National Grid electric and gas delivery rates will increase three times in the next 29 months by 1.4% to 1.9% each time.
The utility and state regulators on Thursday announced details of a decision that diverts some spending away from some of National Grid’s other initiatives to programs that advance the state government’s climate, economic and social priorities.
National Grid said it would mean three increases each totaling $1.88 to $2.23 per month on the average residential customer’s electric bill and $1.51 to $2.56 in the average residential gas bill.
The Public Service Commission said the proposal approved Thursday was negotiated between the utility, Department of Public Service staff and multiple other parties with an interest in the matter.
PSC said it received over 2,000 written comments on the proposed rate hikes, in which National Grid originally had sought to increase its electric revenue by 4.9% and its gas revenue by 9.8%.
The PSC said nine parties with diverse interests ultimately supported the plan approved Thursday. It said some of the terms could have been reached only with negotiations, and the final form is within the range of outcomes that would have been achieved through litigation.
Bryan Grimaldi, National Grid’s vice president of New York corporate affairs, said in a news release the agreement strikes a balance between keeping energy affordable and keeping the utility infrastructure resilient against the damaging storms hitting the upstate region in record number.
He said National Grid will defer other programs and initiatives that would have added to customer bills, but did not offer specifics.
National Grid’s previous gas and electricity rate plans expired March 30, 2021. The company delayed filing a replacement rate proposal from April 2020 to June 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. Once filed, the negotiation process took nine months. With additional time for regulatory review and public comment, the proposal was finalized in late September 2021.
Thursday’s decision takes effect Feb 1. It specifies delivery rate increases of 1.4% for electricity and 1.8% for gas in the first year then rate increases of 1.9% each for both gas and electric in year two and year three.
National Grid bills are split between energy and delivery. Delivery is the source of its profits, and the delivery charges are regulated by the PSC. The energy cost itself is not regulated by the PSC, and not a source of profit for National Grid.
National Grid’s upstate New York business serves roughly 600,000 gas customers and 1.6 million electric customers.
The PSC in its announcement Thursday said the agreement is in line with the state’s climate, social and economic goals.
National Grid said specific aspects include:
- Delivering a portfolio of programs that focus on energy efficiency, heating alternatives, and new technologies to help customers manage their energy use;
- Increasing to more than $81 million funding for energy affordability programs and services;
- Investment in energy efficiency and demand response programs to help customers manage their energy use and bills;
- Continuation of economic development programs that have injected more than $125 million into the upstate economy since 2003;
- Investment of $3.3 billion in the utility’s distribution network;
- An optimized tree-trimming strategy;
- Significant increases in clean energy investments, including heat pumps, geothermal solutions, hydrogen-based energy storage/delivery, energy efficiency and electric vehicle support;
- Continued COVID-era support for those who can’t pay their bills; more than 230,000 upstate residential customers — about 1 in 7 — are more than 60 days in arrears as of December, owing a collective $365 million.