National Grid proposes rate hike in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — National Grid wants to increase its distribution rates for electric and gas customers in Rhode Island, which would cause bills to rise next year.

The utility filed the proposal Monday with the state Public Utilities Commission. The hike in base distribution rates would be the National Grid’s first since 2012.

Under the new rates, residential electric bills would rise by 6 percent and gas bills would increase by 5 percent. Any approved rates wouldn’t be effective until Sept. 1, 2018.

President Tim Horan says resetting the rates allows the utility to “continue to improve service quality.”

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said Monday families and small business owners are already “challenged by high energy costs” and called on the Public Utilities Commission to “open up National Grid’s books.”

Democratic Rhode Island U.S. Rep. David Cicilline called the proposed rate hike “unacceptable.”

The utility in August got permission from the PUC to raise winter electricity rates from 6.3 cents per kilowatt hour to 9.5 cents. For the average customer, that means an increase of about $17 a month.

National Grid also came under fire last month – with the governor ordering a review – after it took days to restore power to thousands of customers who lost electricity after a strong storm moved through.

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