In a packed hearing room, the state’s Public Utilities Commission listened to testimony for much of the day on National Grid’s proposed 24 percent rate hike.
The increase would kick in January 1st, how long it will last is another matter. The PUC heard testimony both for and against stretching a lower rate out over twelve months as opposed to the requested six months.
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.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee has joined the rest of New England’s governors signing an accord to create a regional power plan.
New England’s six governors say if their states work together, they can share the cost of building natural gas pipelines and power transmission lines delivering Canadian hydro-power, and that will lower energy costs. Chafee warns it will take a long-term investment to bring down power bills.