national grid

National Grid is asking the state’s public utilities commission to clear the way for a nearly 24 percent rate hike. The utility estimates that will add nearly $21 to the average residential customer bill.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and other leaders have gathered at Slater Mill in Pawtucket this afternoon for a ceremonial signing of the Affordable Clean Energy Security Act, an energy bill the governor signed into law earlier this summer.

The act gives Rhode Island an opportunity to work with other New England states to address volatile electricity prices. Last winter, the New England region spent $5 billion in energy costs, nearly as much as the region spent for the entire 2012 calendar year.

New Englanders spent $5 billion in electricity last winter, compared to $5.2 billion for all of 2012. That's why each of the New England states has introduced legislation in their respective states to address the problem of rising electricity prices. But environmental advocacy groups are worried this regional collaboration would promote unnecessary natural gas projects.

The state's renewable energy fund and the program designed to stimulate the development of renewable energy projects in Rhode Island are producing positive outcomes: more jobs and less pollution. That's according to a recent report by the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources.  

Courtesy of Bella Energy

The Quonset Development Corporation has given a Colorado-based renewable energy company, Bella Energy, the green light to build a solar farm.

The solar farm will sit on an acre and a half, out of the five acres Bella Energy will lease.

Ted Kresse, spokesperson for the Quonset Development Corporation, said the land Bella Energy will lease is not fit for industrial development, but works for solar projects.

If you've been wondering whether the recent cold snap helped spike your energy costs, wonder no more and be sure to listen to this week's Bottom Line. Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon to learn more from National Grid spokesman David Graves.

Graves discusses how the availability and price of natural gas is effecting electricity rates, new rates for homes and businesses, and what business owners should know about their electric rate plans.

When to Listen

John Bender / RIPR

Dozens of people were evacuated from buildings on the outskirts of downtown Providence following an underground explosion yesterday.

National grid confirmed that the explosion was caused by pressure built up inside an underground utility vault.

Sarah Longley from was working in the Women and Infants building on Chestnut Street only feet away from the explosion.

Megan Hall

Two people are injured after an underground blast caused manhole covers to fly. Providence fire fighters were responding to a call around 11:00am Monday of a strange odor at 300 Richmond in Providence’s Jewelry District when National Grid said a mix of fire and gases caused eight manhole covers to fly into the air.  

National Grid said there were readings of high levels of carbon monoxide at the location. Providence Police Commissioner Steven Pare said two pedestrians were slightly injured.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island is one of eight states that joined a pledge Thursday to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. The pledge comes just weeks after the state installed 50 charging stations.

The pledge calls for more infrastructure to support the millions of electric cars expected to hit the road in the next dozen years. Every car maker is working to have an electric car for sale by 2015, but auto dealers say charging stations are key to getting consumers behind the wheel.

The first day of classes started with a bang for many students at Johnson & Wales University when a utility cable exploded underneath two dormitories. The blast occurred at roughly 5:00 in the morning. Johnson & Wales officials said they had to evacuate nearly 1,000 students, most of them freshmen.

National Grid is investigating the cause of the explosion, which appeared to center on a cable located in an underground vault just next to the university's Providence dorms. No one was injured in the incident.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said Rhode Islanders are still getting scammed by people claiming to be from National Grid and demanding payments. A warning issued earlier this month has failed to stop the predators.

The scammers typically call people at random and tell them they have a past due balance on their electric bill. They say they’re from National Grid and warn that service will be shut off immediately unless the customer makes an immediate payment.  By paying, people automatically give the scammers access to sensitive bank account or credit card information.

file / RIPR

Deepwater Wind is looking for a new location to connect its offshore wind farm to the mainland. The original plan was to run a line from its Block Island wind farm to Narragansett’s Town Beach.

Residents complained about the plan, and the town council voted to suspend talks with Deepwater back in May. Deepwater Wind insisted that the lines would be buried ten feet underground. After meeting with residents back in June, Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski withdrew an application request on Friday.

Our air conditioners have been working overtime in this steamy summer. Our wallets will be lighter when the electricity bills arrive. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says to stabilize power costs, Rhode Island needs to look north to Canada.

Flick the wall switch and the lights go on. Turn the knob; the stove heats up. Push a button; the air conditioner hums.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mar 7, 2013

Snow and heavy winds are in the forecast for today. There are varying opinions about a proposed corporate tax rate cut.  These stories and more on the RIPR Morning News Podcast.
And Bill Gale previews Festival Ballet Providence’s program coming this weekend to the Vets in Providence.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

National Grid warns against scam

Feb 20, 2013

National Grid is warning customers of a new nationwide utility bill scam.

Over the past several days National Grid electric customers have received phone calls from people claiming to work for the utility. The scammers demand payment on past-due bills and threaten customers with a shut-off of service. Occasionally, the caller also tells customers they have a faulty meter that will need to be replaced for a substantial fee.