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The Real Deal: National Grid Collecting 'Credit'
ALBANYThe pain of high energy bills is still with us despite the fact the weather has warmed up. National Grid customers receiving the May bill will notice another price jump and starting next month, customers will have to start repaying the utility for a credit that was issued on the February bill.
Electricity rates were 122% higher in January, February and March of this year compared to the same time last year. Customers got a slight break in April as the average bill fell by about $55 compared to March but the May bills are now coming out and they're higher than expected. National Grid sent an email to customers this week trying to explain why. According to the utility, the monthly supply portion of the bill is based on a forecast set at the end of the previous month. If that forecast is too high or too low it needs to be reconciled so, National Grid says it either charges or credits customers on a two-month lag. Because March was colder than predicted, customers will see a charge on the May bill.
In addition to the higher rate in May, starting next month all residential customers will see an added fee of $3-$6 per month for the next six months to pay back a credit National Grid provided on the February bill. The utility says it paid $32 million more than it charged customers for the supply of electric in February but asked the New York State Public Service Commission for permission to defer the collection of that added cost from customers, until after winter. State regulators agreed at the time to that deferral and recently to the payback schedule.
On Thursday, May 15th, the Public Service Commission will host a public hearing to explore how National Grid's rates rose astronomically this winter, why and what can be done to prevent this type of sticker shock in the future.