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National Grid Rate Hike Public Comment Hearings Begin

First hearing is Wednesday in Narragansett, hearing in Woonsocket set for Sept. 18.

 

National Grid is seeking to raise RI rates on electricity and gas, and a series of public comment sessions begins tomorrow in Narragansett followed by one in Woonsocket City Hall Sept. 18.

For National Grid Electric, the proposed rates will increase the company’s annual operating revenue by approximately $31.4 million, or 3.8 percent. The bill impact for a typical electric residential customer using 500 kWh per month would be a monthly increase of $3.97 or 5.1 percent, from $78.05 to 82.02.  The bill impact on electric commercial and industrial customers will range from an increase of -0.1 percent to an increase of approximately 6.7 percent.

A small part of the electricity rate hike, said Thomas F. Kogut, spokesman for the RI Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, will help National Grid recoup an $11 million deficit in its storm fund created by response to . National Grid had about $22.5 million in its storm response fund, and it spent about $33.5 million cleaning up and restoring service after Irene. That part will account for 25-cents of the monthly increase to each ratepayer's bill.

For National Grid Gas, the proposed rates will increase the company’s annual operating revenue by approximately $20.0 million, or 5.7 percent.  The bill impact for a typical residential gas heating customer consuming 922 therms per year would be an annual increase of $98 or 7.6 percent from $1,295 to $1,393. The impact on gas commercial and industrial customers will range from approximately 2.2 percent to approximately 7.2 percent.  

David Graves, spokesman for National Grid, said the balance of the electricity rate increase not going to the storm fund and the gas rate increase will go to operating expenses. Operating expenses include non-capital costs such as pension funds and collection of bad debt. Another operating expense they need to cover, he said, is an average 11-percent increase in property taxes on their land for power stations and telephone poles. "That's a good chunk of what we're looking for," Graves said.  

The Commission may approve rates that could be higher or lower than those proposed by National Grid. Kogut said the PUC response to the proposal can be found along with that of the George Wiley Center on the agency's website. The George Wiley Center proposes that low-income customers paying reduced A-60 rates be protected from any increase, and that the number of customers paying the rate be expanded. 

Among other points, the PUC is recommending that National Grid's proposed adjustment for operations and maintenance (O&M) expenses related to capital spending be eliminated, saving $849,000. 

"The company is forecasting that  the capital spending will increase from $48,613,000 to $56,540,000 in the rate year.  However, the company has not established that the capital spending activity in the projects or types of projects where the O&M expenses are concentrated will increase from the 2011 test year to the rate year. Thus even if the overall spending increases as forecasted by the company, it is not clear that the  related O&M expense will increase commensurately," writes PUC consultant David J. Effron.

The Narragansett public comment meeting will be held Sept. 5 at 6 p.m., Narragansett Town Hall, Council Chambers, 25 Fifth Avenue, Narragansett.

The Woonsocket public comment meeting will be held Sept. 18 at 6 p.m., Woonsocket City Hall, Harris Hall, 169 Main St. 

See the attached .pdf for a full list of the public comment meeting schedule.

Russell Archambault September 04, 2012 at 09:54 PM
WELL IM ALL FOR THIS ONE TOO ! ANYTHING ELSE ? LETS HOPE OBAMA GETS IN, HE'LL PAY FOR ALL OF US. HAHAHAHA ON THE RICH!
Mr. Sluggo September 04, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Maybe they can time it to kick in with the supplemental in January.Happy New Year!
DR September 04, 2012 at 11:09 PM
National Grid pays a 5.6% dividend 1.5 billion to shareholders-not too bad.
Memere September 05, 2012 at 01:46 AM
I am totally against this. Rhode Islanders are over-paying as it is and we cannot afford this anymore. It's just too bad if National doesn't make such a large profit this year and its stockholders don't make quite as much in dividends. The rest of us poor peons are suffering too. Enough is enough. When will it ever end?????????
Memere September 05, 2012 at 01:47 AM
I am totally against this. Rhode Islanders are over-paying as it is and we cannot afford this anymore. It's just too bad if National Grid doesn't make such a large profit this year and its stockholders don't make quite as much in dividends. The rest of us poor peons are suffering too. Enough is enough. When will it ever end?????????
Russell Archambault September 05, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Memere; you can say that again !
Common Sense September 05, 2012 at 03:20 AM
She just did...too funny Russ
Russell Archambault September 05, 2012 at 12:35 PM
memere IS A LITTLE bit UPSET ABOUT ALL OF THIS.
Maxin September 06, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Well it should piss you off you know corporations like this take and take and take. It will never be enough. Now if the money was to give your employees a real cost of living raze it would not be so bad. But the cost of living razes 7 to 10 percent a year but corporations only give a 2 percent raise which barely covers the cost of health insurance increase. Don’t they realize this is killing out middle class by not keeping up with the cost of living? We need to hold corporations responsible for the way they treat their employees. That is why the rich gets richer because they refuse to cover the cost of living for the workers.
Maxin September 06, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Well it should piss you off you know corporations like this take and take and take. It will never be enough. Now if the money was to give your employees a real cost of living raze it would not be so bad. But the cost of living razes 7 to 10 percent a year but corporations only give a 2 percent raise which barely covers the cost of health insurance increase. Don’t they realize this is killing our middle class by not keeping up with the cost of living? We need to hold corporations responsible for the way they treat their employees. That is why the rich gets richer because they refuse to cover the cost of living for the workers.
Memere September 06, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Yes I am just a little bit upset.. Sorry, I hit the button twice.
Sly September 06, 2012 at 08:20 PM
ummmm,Does the great Budget Com. have anything to do with that.Maybe Fontaine and ward also.Sounds fishy.Pocket emptying people they are.
Mr. Sluggo September 06, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Remember the old days?Christmas clubs,saving all year to buy some gifts for loved ones?Banks nowadays should start up tax and utility clubs,great way to save for those unexpected tax hikes and winter heating bills too!
Russell Archambault September 06, 2012 at 08:56 PM
also another thought on saving is that the banks will pay .05% on your savings, with that you could buy the stamp to send your money out. Mr. Sluggo great idea !
Russell Archambault September 06, 2012 at 08:57 PM
wow; alot of double talking on this topic!
Jerry September 07, 2012 at 02:47 AM
What's wrong, the electric and gas company free lunches to their employees have gone up?? When does this crap ever end. What do the big wigs make? I would like to know their salaries. I bet they get free utilities in their houses. Or, maybe welfare people aren't paying their bills on time, and we have to pick up the slack?? Isn't that what it's all about?? People put their electric and gas in other peoples names cuz their credit sucks, and then they don't pay. Don't think for one minute the utility companies aren't making money. WAKE UP.

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