NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – National Grid is raising their electric rates. National Grid told 22News on Thursday that their power suppliers are charging them more money.
Electric rates are on the rise for thousands of people in western Massachusetts. If you are a National Grid customer, beginning in November, you’ll see a 37% increase on your monthly electric bill, or about $33 compared to the same time last year.
National Grid says over 50% of the electricity in New England is fueled by natural gas. The price of natural gas as a commodity is rising. National Grid also says there are not enough natural gas pipeline in New England, and the ones we do have are not wide enough to meet the demand.
“If you look across the country, Natural Gas is actually fairly cheap. It’s just because here in New England we are at the very end of the pipeline, we’re the last stop. So because of that and those constraints on the pipeline, we really have a limit to the amount of natural gas that we can get in here when it’s in the highest demand,” said National Grid Spokesman Jake Navarro.
A National Grid customer told 22News he’s not happy. “We we’re just notified a few weeks ago so we were caught off guard and the increase is astronomical. We can’t afford the increase. I don’t know who can. They did say that there is a decrease for Natural Gas customers, but we do oil, so we’re getting hit on both sides of the equation,”said Matthew Smith of Palmer.
National Grid says you can reduce your own utility bills by becoming as energy efficient as possible. Things like programmable thermostats, lowering the temperature when you go to bed, or having a high-efficiency furnace or boiler can save you between 10 and 30% on your bill.
Still, others say we need to lessen our reliance on natural gas. “Solar power, wind power, water power. We just need to look at other alternatives,” said Ronna Kabler of Framingham.
National Grid said they agree that alternative forms of energy may help stabilize rates. They point out that they do not generate their own electricity. National Grid only delivers that electricity to the homes and businesses of their customers.