Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission

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National grid customers in Rhode Island are suing the company, along with the state’s public utilities division. They claim National Grid broke the law turning off their power, despite their low-income or medically vulnerable status.

National Grid spokesman David Graves said there are many safeguards in place before a customer has their power shut off.

“Shutting customers off, terminating their service, is the last step that we take in a very long process to work with the customers, particularly if they’re having trouble paying their utility bills,” said Graves.

RIPR File Photo

The Block Island offshore wind farm will produce more power than originally expected, said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski at an open meeting before the state's Public Utilities Commission. The company expected the wind farm to produce 40 percent of its total maximum power. But since the company proposed the project, advances in turbine technology have bumped up the wind farm’s projected efficiency.

RIPR File Photo

The state’s Public Utilities Commission will be brought up to speed today on the status of the Block Island wind farm project. As Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza reports, Deepwater Wind and others will offer those updates.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The Public Utilities Commission approved a 14 percent rate increase in National Grid electricity rates. The vote was met with anger by residents who attended this  morning's public hearing.

Angry residents repeatedly asked the PUC not to approve the electricity rate hike. Warren resident Joyce Katzberg said she wants publicly-owned utilities that aren’t beholden to corporate interests.

“And for those utilities to be brought to us through clean, safe, and renewable sources, not fracking, not mountaintop removal, and not nuclear power plants,” said Katzberg.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

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.

The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission said it will consider a new minimum limousine charge, after four limousine companies sued over a $40 minimum charge.

The $40 minimum charge for a limousine ride was supposed to go into effect November 11th. But the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission agreed to suspend enforcement after four limousine companies sued.