NYS Public Service Commission slashes National Grid’s rate hike request by more than one-third

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — As we deal with below-freezing temperatures, while you crank your thermostat, National Grid will be cranking your heating bill.

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a rate hike for National Grid but much lower than what it was asking for. The PSC approved a three-year rate plan for National Grid customers living in upstate New York but at more than one-third lower than what National Grid requested. It will raise your heat bill by about 2% each of the next three years, but, it doesn’t have to break the bank.

"If you own your home, or you pay rent, and you pay your utilities separately you may be eligible for some assistance on your heating bill,” CEO, and president of Lifespan, Ann Marie Cook told News10NBC.

This new plan will allow revenues to increase 1.4% for electric and 1.8% for gas the first year, and by 1.9% for electric and gas the second and third years. According to the Public Service Commission, National Grid wanted an almost 5% increase in electric delivery and an almost whopping 10% for natural gas.

"It’s going to be very cold and a lot of people don’t understand that there is help available,” Cook said.

Lifespan suggested people try the Home Energy Assistance Program known as "HEAP", which can help people struggling with heating costs.

"They income qualify, which many people do but don’t realize it,” Cook added.

The PSC says electric bills for a typical home using 600KW per month would increase between 2.02% and 2.2% in the first year, up to 2.12% in the second, and 2.4% in the third. Gas bills based on homes that use 82therms per month would increase almost 2% in the first year, 3.13% in the second and 3.29% in the third.

"Family of four, let’s say you have a monthly income of less than $5,200 dollars you may qualify. I mean that is a significant amount of income but still, you may qualify for some heating relief,” Cook added.

“In upstate New York, National Grid provides electric service to approximately 1.6 million customers and gas service to approximately 600,000 customers. New York State Public Service Commission decision establishes a three-year rate plan for electric and gas service provided by National Grid for the period July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2024, providing an immediate benefit to ratepayers who would otherwise experience higher rates at a time when the economy is still recovering from the covid-19 pandemic.” The New York State Public Service Commission said in a statement.

“The New York State Public Service Commission approved a three-year rate agreement for National Grid’s upstate New York customers that minimizes bill impacts, enhances energy efficiency programs, targets key infrastructure investments to promote a cleaner, more resilient energy delivery system, and advances New York’s renewable energy and emissions reduction goals. The agreement, which is effective Feb. 1, was reached with department of public service staff, IBEW local 97, commercial and industrial customers, the New York Power Authority, and other parties.” National Grid said in a statement.