Electric rates not expected to increase at city-owned power companies

Municipally-owned electric companies don't expect rate hikes.

Photo Courtesy: MGNonline

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – National Grid began charging their customers 37 percent more for electricity on November 1, 2014. Western Massachusetts Electric Company plans to increase their rates, if approved by the Department of Public Utilities.

22News discovered Holyoke, Westfield and Chicopee residents will be exempt from paying more. That’s because their cities generate their own electricity, and their rates aren’t changing.

National Grid and WMECo blame the boost on a limited supply of natural gas they can get in order to produce electricity. It’s a matter of supply and demand.

“Those are the two biggest. You know. They got us. What we going to do? Shut the power off?” remarked Bob Begley of West Springfield, who is a WMECo customer.

22News spoke with Sean Fitzgerald of Westfield Gas and Electric. He said Westfield customers will be paying the same electric rate as last winter. That means they will not be noticing any increases in their electric bills this year.

Holyoke Gas & Electric Manager Jim Lavelle said the Holyoke dam helps produce their electricity, so they rely less on gas.

Chicopee Electric Light General Manager Jeffrey Cady said they don’t anticipate rate hikes either. However, he said they won’t be negotiating a final budget for the 2015 year until mid-December.

Struggling families outside those three cities said it’s going to be difficult to pay more for electricity.

“I live pay check to pay check. We get food stamps so 26 dollars is 26 dollars,” said Adam Seaman of Southwick. That’s how much more per month a family could be paying WMECo next year, if the new rate is approved by the Department of Public Utilities.

Here are ways you can save on your electric bill.

 

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