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National Grid proposes higher prices, new jobs for New York

Staff Writer |
After more than a decade of stable energy bills and $6 billion in infrastructure investments, National Grid filed a proposal to reset electricity and natural gas delivery prices beginning in April 2018.

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The proposal must be reviewed by the New York Public Service Commission and, if approved, would take effect April 1, 2018.

The current delivery price freeze for National Grid’s upstate electricity and natural gas customers will remain in effect through March 31, 2018.

Adjusted for inflation natural gas delivery prices have held steady for more than a decade and electricity delivery prices are lower than they were in 2004.

Today’s proposal would result in total monthly bill impacts of $11.23, or 13.9 percent (21.8 percent on delivery) for a residential electricity customer using 600 kilowatt-hours.

Total bill impacts for residential gas customers would be $10.38, or 14.9 percent (24.8 percent on delivery) a month, based on 77 therms used.

While regulations require the company to file a one-year plan, National Grid is open to phasing in new rates through a multi-year agreement to mitigate customer impact.

Spreading the increase over three years, for example, could reduce the first year customer bill impacts by more than half. The company’s filing would impact only energy delivery prices. Supply prices are set by the market, not National Grid.

As part of the request for new delivery prices, the company is proposing:

- Investment of approximately $2.7 billion over the next three years in its core electricity and gas networks across upstate New York.

This includes investments that will allow the company to seamlessly connect distributed generation, especially renewable resources.

These investments will begin transitioning the traditional utility model t_o a platform that accommodates a two-way flow of energy and enhances market dynamics.

- Deployment of advanced metering infrastructure for both electricity and gas service that will provide customers enhanced energy consumption data, and more products and services for managing their energy use.

Over time, this represents more than two million new smart meters being placed into service.

- New demonstration projects, including initiatives to test smart home technologies and a distributed generation cost-recovery model.

- Investments in the natural gas systems that will mitigate regional capacity constraints, expand availability of gas service, and improve the safety and reliability of the distribution network. This includes the retirement of 150 miles of leak-prone pipe over three years.

- Increased customer assistance and energy affordability programs for those having difficulty managing their energy costs, including a new initiative to increase enrollment in energy affordability, energy efficiency and gas safety programs by more than 50,000 customers.

- Continued deployment of economic development and energy efficiency programs that help grow the upstate economy.

- Adding more than 280 jobs over the next three years to support electric and gas operations, grid modernization and customer programs.

These will be local employees who live and work in the communities the company serves and support the regional economy.

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