National Grid to defer electricity supply increase due to unusually cold winter seasonby jmaloni
Public Service Commission approves emergency plan to help mitigate increase in February commodity costs on National Grid upstate New York bills
Customers encouraged to enroll in balanced billing option
National Grid has requested and received approval to defer upcoming increases in electricity supply prices for upstate New York residential and small business customers. The approval will help the company's upstate electricity customers better manage their energy costs during an unusually cold winter season.
Costs for electricity supply - the actual energy itself - for upstate New York have increased substantially in the past few months due to colder-than-normal weather conditions and a dramatic rise in the cost of natural gas that fuels many electricity-generating stations. These increases, coupled with much higher than typical usage, prompted the company to take action to help stabilize energy costs for its customers.
As a result of this approval, the electricity supply increases for February that would have increased total bills approximately 20 to 30 percent will be deferred for recovery in future months. Additionally, the company is encouraging customers to further mitigate the impact of high supply prices by enrolling in the budget billing program, which will spread high winter bills over the course of a year. There is no cost to enroll in the budget billing plan.
National Grid does not control or set the cost of electricity or natural gas supply. It purchases the commodity on behalf of its customers and passes that cost on directly without markup. Even though the company's delivery rates have been reduced twice in the past two years, rapidly rising supply costs and dramatically higher customer usage has resulted in higher-than-normal winter bills for many customers. Prior to this recent cold snap, since 2008, overall electricity bills for upstate New York customers on average have decreased about 12 percent, while total natural gas bills have decreased about 35 percent due in part to these efforts.
"This year's colder-than-normal temperatures have made this a particularly challenging winter season for our customers," said Ken Daly, National Grid president, New York. "The significant increase in electricity supply costs has made the situation even more critical. We are pleased that the New York Public Service Commission reviewed and approved our emergency proposal quickly to help provide some immediate relief to our customers."
Customers can further manage their energy costs by reducing their usage. National Grid has a 20-year history of energy efficiency programs in the U.S. Upstate New York National Grid customers can call 1-800-642-4272 or visit http://www.nationalgridus.com for energy-saving tips, rebates and a list of qualified energy services companies.
Customers who are having difficulty paying their utility bill are also urged to call National Grid as soon as they believe they are having trouble. National Grid has consumer advocates that can help customers through a variety of company, state and federal programs. The earlier a customer contacts National Grid, the easier it is to provide assistance.